This is a film that really should have been reviewed by Michael Reffold. I mean, I watch well over two hundred films a year, both in cinemas and Video On Demand and I like to think of myself as pretty in the know when it comes to movies, but even I find myself going “what the hell is Marguerite?”.
And that’s because Michael seems to gravitate to those kinds of films that I would describe as Art House and as I do this review, I can’t help but worry that High-Rise, while being a wide release for general audiences, is actually a much more niche, auteur film that I’m going to do a disservice.
Tom Hiddleston stars as Dr. Robert Laing, the newest resident of an exclusive tower block inhabited by various social classes, with the poorest living on the bottom and the super rich at the top. Civilisation within the block runs smoothly, so long as everyone keeps “within their floors” but as shared resources start to dwindle, factions begin to form and civilisation is quickly replaced by anarchy and chaos.
I suspect that this is one of those films that critics will largely love and general audiences will not and the trailers that I’ve seen do not help with this. Largely they portray High-Rise as a straight forward battle of the classes, when what you actually get is much more like a combination of Lord of the Flies and A Clockwork Orange with just a little Apocalypse Now thrown in for flavour.
I really cannot stress enough how unapologetically off the wall crazy High-Rise is and while it successfully captures the authentic horror of civilisation in asylum, most of this is probably going to be lost on your general movie goer who is only watching High-Rise because Loki is in it.
For fans of the book (by J.G. Ballard) and for fans of the more out there and Independent films, this is going to be a real treat. Hiddleston plays Dr. Laing with an almost slippery malice, not really fitting in with any of the social hierarchies but interacting with them all. The residents of the High Rise, including the architect Anthony Royal, played by Jeremy Irons and socialite Charlotte, played by Sienna Miller, fit into their narrow roles very well and yet find room to contribute to the destruction of their little part of society.
Also of note were the cinematography and score; both follow the course of society within the film, with the camera providing a grand Kubrick-esque style at the start of the film and slowly devolving into a rough, hand-held fractured style as civilisation in the High Rise crumbles.
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