Film Review – High Rise (2015)


Title – High Rise (2015)

Director – Ben Wheatley (Kill List)

Cast – Tom Hiddleston, John Hurt, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss, James Purefoy, Sienna Guillory

Plot – The lives of residents of a modern high rise complex begin to unravel after a rift between the lower and upper class erupts, caught in the middle of this increasingly dangerous occurrence is new resident Dr. Laing (Hiddleston).

“Looks like the rot’s set in”

Review by Eddie on 9/08/2016

Ever since I first laid witness to British filmmaker Ben Wheatley’s incredibly effective horror/thriller hybrid Kill List I marked him down as a talent that I would watch intently as he headed forward onto what would hopefully be a career that would match his undoubted potential as a unique and uncompromising filmmaker.

Since Kill List’s release on the unsuspecting public in 2011, Wheatley has been in talks with HBO regarding a mysterious project and delivered us the entertaining if not overly memorable oddity A Field in England and a film I found utterly disappointing Sightseers and now with what’s his highest profile film to date High Rise, which unfortunately to a fan such as myself suggests Wheatley needs to get himself back on track ASAP should he indeed look to match his potential with products worthy of it.

Working with wife and film making partner Amy Jump in adapting author J.G Ballard’s well regarded novel of the same name, High Rise sees Wheatley lose track of himself in a cautionary tale of class and politics in an apartment complex that’s not too far removed from Lucifer’s very own Holiday Inn and while Wheatley’s trademark dark humor and penchant for wince inducing violence remains in small doses here, not even a respectable and capable cast can save High Rise from its implosive nature.

It’s frustrating to say the very least that not only does Wheatley squander Ballard’s vision in a misguided narrative, but squanders a cast led by Tom Hiddleston as increasingly unhinged doctor and new complex resident Dr. Laing and not even seasoned performers like John Hurt, Sienna Miller or the usually ace Luke Evans can do anything to heighten High Rise’s chances of succeeding and the film as a whole feels uneasy with what it is to become, with a mismanaged flow and hazy character motivations joining together in creating a narrative that will leave many a viewer perplexed as to what in fact they have just witnessed.

Perhaps a candidate for a cult like following in the forthcoming years, High Rise is a major disappointment to a Wheatley fan like myself who called the event as one of my years most anticipated and while there are glimmers of a great film within High Rise the film a whole marks a very disappointing point in Wheatley’s still hopefully bright future as a filmmaker and a venture that seems to be on an endless stairway to nowhere in particular.

2 paint tins out of 5

14 responses to “Film Review – High Rise (2015)

  1. I agree – huge fan of the book, and Wheatley’s a promising director, but the script just did not come together well enough. Nice review, Eddie.

      • It seemed as cold and impersonal as a Ballard book should, I thought, but the writing didn’t grab me. I feel much the same about any of Jump’s work, with the exception of Kill List.

  2. Great review. I didn’t like the movie, although I liked the book. So much here failed to make sense. And those are the least sexy sex scenes I have seen in a movie this year.

  3. I actually rather liked this movie, precisely because it was bonkers. Mind you, never seen Kill List, so maybe my expectations were lower.

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