High-Rise (2015)

High-Rise (2015) movie poster

director Ben Wheatley
viewed: 08/09/2016

On the whole, I tend to find my tastes in line with general critical consensus.  Letterboxd has allowed me to extend that sensibility, finding more attuned like minds, offering further comparison.  But you know the saying, the exception proves the rule.

I’d looked forward to Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise.  Adapted from J.G. Ballard, starring the likable Tom Hiddleston, with Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, and Elisabeth Moss…it looked promising.  It got mixed to positive reviews, positive reviews from my Letterboxd community on the whole.

The one outlier was my 14 year old son, who saw it as part of the SF International Film festival.  And oddly, I found myself in agreement with him.

To me, Wheatley’s High-Rise is a series of scenes interspersed through a series of montages.  The montages are used to progress the narrative, showing Hiddleston and the various characters moving through the story of this fantasy utopian structure gone awry.  It seemed exceptionally lazy and not the least bit compelling.

I haven’t read Ballard’s novel, but Wheatley seems to acknowledge its location in the 1970’s through styles and decor.  I actually was brought to mind of David Cronenberg’s Shivers (1975), which may have been influenced by Ballard (I don’t know).  It’s also a high-rise gone awry, though a much more compelling version of the dissipation of society and civil life.  And sex and gore and all that Cronenberg biz.

I don’t know.  It’s okay not to agree with everyone all the time.

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