Life for the residents of a tower block begins to run out of control.


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  • ★★★★ review by davidehrlich on Letterboxd

    the most exciting film I've seen at #TIFF15. old school, bonkers & brilliant, the Snowpiercer comparisons only cheapen it. and every time i thought i had a handle on this, it wrangled out of my grasp... but happy to get all knotted up with it again.

  • ★★★★ review by SilentDawn on Letterboxd


    An intoxicating parable driven by glamour and insanity. Director Ben Wheatley has never been known for conventionality, but High-Rise throws the rule book off of the 30th floor without a hint of remorse and a sly grin on its face. Essentially a toxic, wonky mix of Tati and Gilliam, it shines across the screen like a sunny satirical nightmare, but the punch line is delivered right away and nobody's laughing. Its structure, built out of aimless encounters and sudden musical flourishes (the soundtrack and sound design is spine-tingling), doesn't allow for typical social class tension, but the sublime editing induces it onto the viewer; a flurried waltz of dogs and glass and penises and wine unfolding like a glitzy barbaric past. It's disappointing that the final reel leaves so much to be desired - replacing intricate dynamics with sloppy pieces stitched together - because there's something elegant and wild within High-Rise that's eager to run loose. Wheatley just doesn't seem interested in unleashing it in a fully coherent manner.

  • ★★★★★ review by nathaxnne walker on Letterboxd

    As we have gradually and suddenly settled into our current dystopian future, around us unseen lay the corpses of discarded potential dystopias, lost as the hazy outlines cease to blur and come into sharper, solid focus. Ben Wheatley & Amy Jump's High-rise is one such lost possible dystopia imagined from countless back-of-glossy-heavyweight-magazine full-page adverts and album covers especially prized for their suitability as cocaine runways. It is out of the partial emergence and entire deaths of these potential futures that our own comes to be. Out of the demise of Rococo Disco Brutalism comes Thatcherite Iron-Clad Corporate Neo-Feudalism. That there was a Technocratic Vision of paternalistic rational planning, of a civilization engineered according to the latest passing totalitarianism, the 'capitalism of the state', led to total breakdown, the outright seizure and pillaging of what little resources the lower classes had amassed for themselves since the last major war by a resentful elite who were exhausted by pretending to believe in such a thing as society. The triumph of montage. The funniest movie of the year.

  • ★★★½ review by Jonathan White on Letterboxd

    TIFF 2015 film # 12

    Reason for pick - because CindyT told Lise we should watch it, despite the fact that Lise hated A Field In England. This should be good. (pssst, Cindy ... watch your back .. Lise is in a mood, and it's not a good mood ... she's convinced herself that this was your revenge for A Strange Little Cat )

    Not having seen anything by the director, particularly the much adored and much maligned A Field In England, I was intrigued.

    I love .. LOVE .. dystopian, and High Rise just seemed to fit the bill perfectly. I wasn't disappointed.

    Director Ben Wheatley realized a past in much the same way that Terry Gilliam realized a near future in Brazil. Some things fitting, some things out of place, but somehow at home.

    There are traces of the aforementioned Gilliam here, but also Jeunet, Lynch, and a touch of Wes Anderson ( in a good way, for me at least). My first comment to my wife after we got out was that it was kind of a vertical Snow Piercer. She had walked out about 10 minutes before the end, on the excuse that she had to find the powder room. And wouldn't be returning. In my cursory glances of TIFF friends reviews, it seems I'm not alone in the Snowpiercer association, but it looks like the originality goes to High Rise, and it's original J. G. Ballard 1975 novel.

    It's weird to think that Ballard wasn't trying to capture the future, but rather capture the now, but rather inadvertently did both. I guess that things really don't change after all.

  • ★★★½ review by matt lynch on Letterboxd

    Wheatley's glam isn't as precise a cutting tool as Ballard's crystalline language but as a gleefully poppy, selectively faithful surface reading of the text this is still a blast. Genius of the Portishead/ABBA cover is sadly negated by the stupid closing Thatcher speech, but this'll do.

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