Director Ben Wheatley, who made a couple of weird films with A Field in England and the brilliant horror-comedy Sightseers, gets even weirder with High-Rise, an adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s 1975 novel about class warfare inside a high-rise building.
Tom Hiddleston is Robert, a doctor who moves into the building to get a new start on life. He has an affair with the beautiful woman downstairs (Sienna Miller), makes himself some new friends, and even gets to know the building’s eccentric architect, Royal (Jeremy Irons).
Things are going relatively well, other than a couple of control panels and elevators breaking in the building, when an occupant falls to his death. That sets off a chain reaction during which the tenants fall into an anarchic state. They rape; they pillage; and they paint their own apartments with no authority to do so.
Wheatley’s movie has echoes of Gilliam and Kubrick, although he has an incredibly unique vision himself. Hiddleston is good in the lead, a character who slowly falls into madness. There are times when the film doesn’t make much sense, but it’s always insane and somewhat enjoyable.
Having lived in apartments most of my life, I’d say much of what happens in this complex is fairly accurate.
High-Rise is available via online sources including iTunes and Amazon.com.