High-Rise is a surrealistic film based on J.G. Ballard’s novel of the same name. It is about the descent into savagery and mayhem of the inhabitants trapped inside a brutalist high-rise block of apartments somewhere on the outskirts of London in the 1970s.
The film is much hyped, possibly because of the stellar cast including Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Elizabeth Moss, Keeley Hawes and James Purefoy and possibly because of Tom’s amazing nude scene. As they say in the movie, he is an excellent specimen! Overall though, that wasn’t enough to carry the film or make the story interesting or that meaningful. The road to their dystopia is rapid and told with a heavy-handed and repetitive method. It isn’t enjoyable for the most part, although there are a few mildly amusing observations of the excesses of modern society along the way.
For me, by far the best part of the film, which underlines the block’s feral nadir, was a long sequence scored by Portishead’s brilliant cover version of ABBA’s S.O.S. I think they played the entire song and I reckon it is better than the original.
My Bruce McAvaney Specialness Rating*: 2/5 (Pretty ordinary really.)