American Sniper, Amy Jump, Ben Wheatley, Cinema, Elisabeth Moss, Film, High-Rise, J. G. Ballard, Jeremy Irons, Loki, Luke Evans, Marvel, Movie Review, Sienna Miller, The Avengers, The Borgias, Thor, Tom Hiddleston
“High-Rise” is a British ‘thriller’ based on J. G. Ballard’s novel of the same name. The film is directed by Ben Wheatley, and boasts an impressive ensemble cast including Tom Hiddleston (“The Avengers”), Sienna Miller (“American Sniper”), and Jeremy Irons (“The Borgias”).
To explain what the film is actually about is initially easy – it’s about the chaos that ensues when an apartment complex starts losing power – but then it becomes more difficult when you try to make sense of what the film is really trying to get at. If the description I just put forward really is all that “High-Rise” is about then it is one of the worst films I have ever seen – I don’t think that it is all that this film is about, but sadly it does end up saying very little and being awfully tedious.
It seems as though “High-Rise” wants to be a black comedy telling of the dangers of capitalism and the class system which it creates, but to be frank this film doesn’t even come close to putting that story across. It’s one of the most disjointed and jarring movie experiences I have ever had the displeasure of suffering, and the novelty of the surreal inner workings of the building that the film takes place in dissipates once you realise that the story is going nowhere.
To begin with the craziness of the film makes for an interesting and perplexing watch, but sadly “High-Rise” becomes incredibly boring, as it drags on relentlessly and fails to develop any of its characters. It overindulges on its own nonsense, and there’s a complete lack of focus on any one character, even though the main character of the film is supposed to be Doctor Laing (Hiddleston). The chaotic scenes which take place later in the film are so difficult to watch that it all becomes a pointless and slightly pathetic blur, and you’ll want a headache tablet by the time the end credits roll. Within this confusing clash of colour and violence there is a message which I believe that screenwriter Amy Jump was trying to convey, but it will be lost to mainstream audiences because the experience is just so distracting and unclear.
From a technical perspective there’s less to complain about, because for the most part the cinematography is fine, and the music is actually really good, but in my opinion this means nothing when a film feels as superfluous and convoluted as this one. You could film a wall for an hour with nice filters and creative angles, but that wouldn’t make that hour of film worth putting on a screen. The critic reviews I’ve read for “High-Rise” have been largely complementary, which I personally feel is a disservice to anyone who reads them, because most people are completely uninterested in things like cinematography. Audiences want to be entertained, but this movie isn’t engaging in any way! Nobody deserves to spend two hours of their life watching this mess of a movie!
“High-Rise” is a strange and frustrating film that thinks that it has style but lacks in substance – you wait in hope for a social commentary to be succinctly put forward, but alas that doesn’t happen, and you’re left wondering what on earth the film was really about once you leave the cinema.