THE PAVILIONS PHUKET EPL Prediction Competition 2018-2019 Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

High-Rise: old-school futurism

For nearly four decades, British film producer Jeremy Thomas had been dreaming of making a screen version of J.G. Ballard’s High-Rise, a story of an isolated prosperous community, gradually descending into violent chaos. It wasn’t until 2014, when the script was adapted by Amy Jump, that her husband, Ben Wheatley, finally started shooting the movie.


By Anton Makhrov

Wednesday 8 June 2016, 10:29AM


Released in 2015, High-Rise opens with the same epic hook as the novel: “Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months.”

Then the story immediately flashes back to the day when Laing (Tom Hiddleston) moved into his new apartment in a recently completed 40-storey tower, the first building in what is supposed to be a cutting edge residential project.

Written in the mid 70s, High-Rise depicts a futuristic world, where all the conveniences and commodities are provided to tenants inside the high-rise, turning it into an isolated community. There is little reason to leave the building (except for work), and its occupants gradually build their own society with a strict hierarchy. The wealthy live on the top floors, while less well-off families occupy the lower ones. Dr Laing resides on the 25th floor, right in the middle and interacts with all the groups.

Perfectionism is the best way to describe Wheatley’s approach to details, but you won’t enjoy it for long, as the movie rapidly slithers into an orgy of violence.

Amazing camera work and visual effects is also what Wheatley can be rightly proud of, with several examples of how use visual effects and slow motion can be used well.

Wheatley’s visual style conflicts with his desire to tell the plot of the story. Every second is a as precious as gold when you have only 119 minutes of run-time and 200 pages of the novel. Brutality piles up into monotonies after the first hour. Characters’ motivations remain unclear and as Wheatley gradually runs out of time, the story becomes less and less consistent.

Production designer Mark Tildesley has done brilliant work recreating the spirit of the 1970s with retro cars, costumes, haircuts, architecture, furniture and household items. These fine details are one of the strongest points of the film. It wouln’t be overkill to supplement the movie with an illustrated fashion guide, building masterplan, supermarket product catalog, rules of conduct for tenants and a separate soundtrack CD featuring both amazing versions of Abba’s SOS that are featured.

High-Riseis nearly perfect in terms of filming, casting and many other aspects. It would have been a great movie if not for Wheatley’s desire to concentrate on the story and tell it exactly the way Ballard did 40 years ago. With howling metaphors and aged revelations, the film tells the story as if we were in the 1970s and 40 floors were still an incredible height for a building.

The idea of respectable citizens turning into savages is no longer shocking; the concept of social planning has already revealed all its dark side; Ballard’s story has become almost common and Wheatley fails to produce any added value.

When watching a screen version of an old novel you expect either a fresh perspective or some new angle or more in-depth analysis of driving factors behind action, but Wheatley doesn’t offer either. High-Riseis professionally filmed, but it is a story that has already been told many times between the 1970s and 2016.

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Phuket mops up after storm lashes island, plunges businesses into darkness

"Now complaining about media coverage," did I miss something, who is complaining, about me...(Read More)


Amid ‘overtourism’ scourge, global survey questions happiness of residents in major tourism destinations

Does anyone think that business operators are going to for-go profits for residents to "feel mo...(Read More)


Phuket beach-touring croc a ‘saltie’, DNA tests confirm

Fresh abrasions from keeping croc in concrete enclosure. Astonished that a croc kept in a concrete...(Read More)


Major power blackout to affect Karon

Understand that now and than at different Phuket areas high voltage cables have to be renewed. But I...(Read More)


Thai man, 30, dies in Phuket motorbike crash

Test drive at dark hours on Phuket ill lighted roads. Speed is your winner,... to heaven. Lucky no...(Read More)


Weapons, ammunition found in vehicle of man shot dead by Phuket police

Either very poor reporting, we see a lot of it, or something wrong here, first report does not menti...(Read More)


Govt to splash B151mn to prevent Phuket road flooding

Nonsense and jibberish. This is just the next mega budget burner. The governor laments the lack of u...(Read More)


Phuket man, 29, shot dead while fleeing police

Best Insp Kurt doesn't get chased by the cops in America- he'll be in for a nasty shot!...(Read More)


Govt to splash B151mn to prevent Phuket road flooding

Ahh- so it's all about 'image' then. No mention about addressing the root causes of thi...(Read More)


Phuket man, 29, shot dead while fleeing police

From the Bangkok Post, "...was shot dead after he opened fire at arresting police after a chase...(Read More)


 

Melbourne Cup 2018