Kata Rocks
THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks

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.

Thailand Property Awards - Asia Property Awards

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
Rawai targets criminals, rogue drivers with B17mn CCTV camera project

Camera systems are fine, but you have to watch them 24 hours a day in control centres like they do i...(Read More)


Patong police net 13 suspects during Hi-Lo gambling raid

Problem with local Officialdom is they make a big poe-ha about small issues. The real big issues the...(Read More)


Rawai targets criminals, rogue drivers with B17mn CCTV camera project

Yup, real sufficient big speed bumps that can make they not drive faster than 50kmh in order to avo...(Read More)


Free legal service project on hold as ‘volunteer lawyers’ wait for budget

I remember that Patong police station did sack all the foreign tourist volunteer police who were spe...(Read More)


Free legal service project on hold as ‘volunteer lawyers’ wait for budget

Silly me, when I read the first article I thought that these guys were actually volunteering their s...(Read More)


Patong police net 13 suspects during Hi-Lo gambling raid

"The laugh stock of the month" Actually this price is reserved for you,every month. Luckil...(Read More)


Video highlights animal cruelty at Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo

This National Geographic article will hopefully shame Thai authorities into doing something about th...(Read More)


Fast & Furious 9 to take on Phuket roads

That's already Fast and Furious everyday on Phuket Roads !! We won't even be able to notice...(Read More)


Rawai targets criminals, rogue drivers with B17mn CCTV camera project

Just install speed bumps in the underpass and no one can drive over 50. Do the same on rawai beach r...(Read More)


Patong police net 13 suspects during Hi-Lo gambling raid

If you like yourself as RTP , wow, in a joined operation (!), make yourself the laugh stock of the ...(Read More)