Ben Wheatley delivers a ferocious adaptation of JG Ballard’s classic dystopian novel High-Rise
It’s the near future, though it (deliberately) seems to be the near future as imagined in the 1970s. Dr Robert Laing (Hiddleston) has set up home in a lavish high-rise designed by a grand architect (Irons). Presiding on the 25th floor, he develops trysts with the higher classes and friendships with those relegated below, including a documentarian (Evans) keen to provoke the dangerous social situation between levels. Violence and disarray are but a ticking time bomb away.
A go-for-broke adaptation of JG Ballard’s beloved novel, Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise is a vigorous and ferocious blast through a dark, dystopian labyrinth that only lets up in a third act that starts to lag – mainly because its pummelling nature can’t help but eventually exhaust. The novel’s slower, icy detachment and alienation are reimagined by Wheatley and writer Amy Jump as a hedonistic whirlwind; imagine a lone location Mad Max film with less motors and more upper-class twits, as filtered through a cocktail of the creative sensibilities of Kubrick, Fritz Lang, Joseph Losey and Ken Russell. [Josh Slater-Williams]