If ever a film had an inherited style or influence then it’s High-Rise, which from cover to cover seems like it’s cut from the same cloth as Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. Regarded as a challenging original text by J. G. Ballard, Ben Wheatley and his partner Amy Jump have crafted an intoxicating, hallucinogenic experience that makes the viewer feel like a voyeur in a descent into chaos.
At any point when you think the excesses and depravity have plateaued you get a sprinkling of Eyes Wide Shut and your head gets another spin.
There are some stunning moments of visual style; a moment where Jeremy Irons’ character stands in his rooftop garden while part of the frame shows the 40 storey drop to a desolate landscape at ground level was a particular favourite.
The fabric of society unravels in a series of moments more subtle than the violence that follows. Stand-out performances from Luke Evans and Sienna Miller mean the moments we spend away from Tom Hiddlestone maintain the tension. His enigmatic Doctor Laing is seemingly an outsider but it’s clear that everyone has dysfunctional behavioural issues; that cold, distant interaction that echoes Kubrick, yes we’re back to that already.
The director is to be applauded for creating something so fascinating to watch / study / gaze at. You never quite know what’s coming next but at the end you feel like you’ve witnessed quality.