Friday, July 29, 2016


Dr Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston) moves into his 25th floor apartment as a successful man on the way up in life. Three months later he is barbecuing a dog on the balcony. High-Rise attempts to explain this by telling us that our physical environment (the apartment building in this case) affects our behaviour, which in turn determines the structure of our society. This doesn't quite ring true as everyone has arrived in the building with a clearly recognisable place in the British class system, and the building just amplifies that class system to a ridiculous extent. It is like an adult version of Lord of the Flies. As one of the characters puts it: "What has happened when someone can fall from the 39th floor and not a single policeman turns up. Where are the sirens?" ABBA's SOS plays a prominent part in the sound track.

High-Rise is a visual riot of a film, with the apartment building in question surrounded by a sea of 1970s British cars. The building in question is post-war brutalist in and out, though some apartment dwellers have managed to recreate other interiors to try and disguise where they are living.

High-Rise has enough components (interesting premise and characters, amazing visuals, good actors, a risk taking director and a political message) to deliver a great film but it doesn't achieve its potential. Instead of an overarching plot there is an overarching idea and bunch of little sub-plots. Instead we get a surreal mishmash with recognisable bits of the 1970s presented in a (bad) dream like fashion.

Ian's rating 2.5/5

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