'High-Rise' Movie Review - Rolling Stone
×
Home Movies Movie Reviews

High-Rise

Tom Hiddleston kills his way to the top in this adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s dystopian cult novel

Tom Hiddleston, Elisabeth Moss, Sienna Miller; High-Rise; Movie; Review

Elisabeth Moss and Tom Hiddleston in 'High-Rise.'

Photo Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Tom Hiddleston is the kind of actor who rivets and rewards attention. Check him out as an 007-ish spy on AMC’s The Night Manager. Or watch him defy expectations in High-Rise, director Ben Wheatley‘s hypnotically unhinged take on J.G. Ballard’s 1975 sci-fi novel about high-tech run amok. It sounds heavy, and sometimes it weighs a ton. But Wheatley and screenwriter Amy Jump (his wife) have energized Ballard’s parable of class warfare in the technology age with a daring approach that will touch a nerve or have you bolting for the exits.

Hiddleston plays Dr. Robert Laing, a bloody mess when we first see the once classy physiologist roasting a dog’s leg on his balcony.  Then we flash back a few months to the day Robert first moves into a flat on the 25th-floor of the posh London high-rise, which serves as the film’s defining metaphor for 1970’s excess. Jeremy Irons feasts on the role of Anthony Royal, the architect who lives on the building’s 40th-floor penthouse while the lower classes struggle and aspire below.

Last year’s superior Snowpiercer used a train to suggest a similar class allegory. But we get the point as Robert works his way up the floors, initially with  Charlotte (Sienna Miller), a hottie upstairs neighbor,  and then through sex-and-drug parties (no rock & roll, just ABBA) that end in assault, rape and tribal violence among those existing in the lower depths. All hell does what you’d expect after a power outage shuts down the elevators. Luke Evans shows up as a leader of the rebel faction. But High-Rise, constricted and claustrophobic, knows where it’s heading. The lack of surprise is a disappointment, but Wheatley puts his visuals into overdrive and stuns our senses. Just try to turn away.

Newswire

Powered by
Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.