Out March 18 / Cert. 15 / 112 Mins.

Empire (UK) - - IN CINEMAS - Nev pierce

Di­rec­tor Ben Wheat­ley cast tom Hid­dle­ston, Si­enna Miller, Luke evans, elis­a­beth Moss

Plot Neu­rol­o­gist Dr. Laing (Hid­dle­ston) moves into a pris­tine tower block in the shiny 1970s, only to see the new so­ci­ety crum­ble into age-old vi­o­lence.

While j. g. Bal­lard is seven years gone, and the source for this film 40 years old, it still feels alarm­ingly now. The fu­ture he imag­ined in the 1970s, with its af­fluenza and anger, couldn’t feel more rel­e­vant to­day.

Bal­lard’s book was pub­lished in the year Mar­garet Thatcher be­came leader of the Con­ser­va­tive Party, be­fore the Win­ter Of dis­con­tent saw rub­bish rot­ting on Bri­tish streets amid in­dus­trial dis­putes, be­fore greed be­came nakedly good. But the novel seemed to fore­see all that was to come, and the first of the many smart de­ci­sions in this pun­gent adap­ta­tion is to main­tain its pe­riod set­ting. it must have been tempt­ing to mod­ernise it. But as ridicu­lous as the cars, lapels and shag­pile side­burns are, re­tain­ing the novel’s era grants High-rise a com­pelling air of tragedy. The peo­ple in this tower block are buy­ing a bit of the fu­ture, but they’re never go­ing to es­cape the past.

although de­signed to be ex­cit­ing and peo­ple-friendly, the bru­tal­ist ar­chi­tec­ture of post-war re­gen­er­a­tion came to rep­re­sent ugly fail­ure. High-rise cap­tures the ex­cite­ment of that sleek, new way of liv­ing, and then takes ma­li­cious delight in its de­struc­tion. This film is both beau­ti­ful and grubby; it bathes your eyes but leaves a sticky residue. From the ethe­real el­e­gance of an aris­to­cratic French fan­cy­dress party (cos­tumes wrapped around warped souls), to the lithe mus­cu­la­ture of a naked hid­dle­ston, to the strik­ing im­age of his paint-splat­tered face — as if du­lux made an STD com­mer­cial — it is crammed with dream­like (or at times night­mar­ish) mo­ments. The chilly eroti­cism is fa­mil­iar from pro­ducer jeremy Thomas’ other Bal­lard adap­ta­tion, Crash, but this is more an­ar­chic than Cronenberg’s con­tro­ver­sial cult clas­sic.

This is a strength and weak­ness. By stay­ing so faith­ful to the ma­te­rial, screen­writer amy jump and di­rec­tor Ben Wheat­ley cap­ture its spirit with­out quite mak­ing High-rise con­sis­tently grip­ping as a story. Once we are firmly es­tab­lished with the con­crete erec­tion and its du­bi­ous denizens, in­ci­dent upon in­ci­dent of un­pleas­ant­ness pile up to be­come al­most mo­not­o­nous. But it’s hard to know how one could wres­tle Bal­lard’s book into a con­ven­tional thriller with­out los­ing the jagged edge that buries it in the mind. and Wheat­ley and dp laurie rose con­jure such restless, ar­rest­ing im­ages that even if your at­ten­tion to the plot wan­ders, you will still want to watch.

Wheat­ley doesn’t al­low the larger scale — this must be his big­gest-bud­get pic­ture by mil­lions — to blunt the un­pre­dictabil­ity and en­ergy he showed in Kill List et al. hid­dle­ston, high­est­pro­file star yet, man­ages a very tricky bal­anc­ing act, as the cool ob­server drawn deeper — or higher — into may­hem, while Si­enna Miller’s se­duc­tive aide and luke evans’ bol­shy film­maker are won­der­fully un­re­pen­tant. This is a daz­zling, trou­bling, ugly and un­set­tling film. Bal­lar­dian, then: fucked up and up and up.

Ver­dict Bat­shit crazy. Don’t ex­pect a thriller in the seat-edge sense, but you will be thrilled — and re­pulsed — by this bold, faith­ful adap­ta­tion of Bal­lard’s ev­er­pre­scient pic­ture of First World strife.

Satur­day Night Fever III saw Tony Manero change ca­reer to es­tate agent.

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