The narrative for Ben Wheatley‘s adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s “High-Rise” is all over the place. Reviews from the Toronto International Film Festival were decidedly mixed (including ours), but the response from the more genre-friendly Fantastic Fest were much more favorable. As the film makes its premiere at the BFI London Film Festival, it appears to be receiving another uptick of positive reviews (see our man in London’s tweet below). And as Wheatley is the filmmaker behind genius genre films both horrifying and hilarious, like “Kill List” and “Sightseers,” those of us who have yet to see the film are still hyper curious.
Here’s the BFI long-form synopsis:
A savage and utterly brilliant satire of both 1960s social idealism and the Thatcherite values that undermined it, High-Rise opens with a dishevelled man (the ever-sublime Tom Hiddleston) eating barbecued dog on the balcony of his trashed apartment, some 25 floors up. Director Ben Wheatley (Sightseers, Kill List) and regular collaborator and screenwriter Amy Jump tear into JG Ballard’s classic source novel with brutal gusto, reeling back from this end-game of filthy detritus to a period just months before, when the building was state-of-the-art, a pioneering beacon of modernism. Hiddleston’s character, Dr Robert Laing, has just taken ownership of his luxurious apartment whose lofty location places him amongst the upper echelons. He is immediately drawn into and seduced by the louche culture of nightly cocktail parties, where conversation always comes back to Royal (Jeremy Irons in a pitch perfect performance that screams ‘empire in decline’), the enigmatic architect who designed the building. However, as power outages become more frequent and building flaws emerge, particularly on the lower floors, the regimented social strata begins to crumble. Nihilism, drugs and alcohol feed into wanton sex and destruction, all underscored by Clint Mansell’s wicked music and Mark Tildesley’s designs – revelling in decadent 1970s chic. A long-time passion project for producer Jeremy Thomas, his faith in Wheatley has resulted in a glorious cacophony of excess.
Starring Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss, Stacy Martin, and James Purefoy, among other familiar faces from the Wheatley troupe, such as Peter Ferdinando. Now that “High-Rise” has premiered in its homeland of England, the first clips of the film have been released. One full clip has hit from the BBC, and in this BFI Q&A with the cast and Wheatley, we get glimpses of three different clips. Interestingly enough, apparently Portishead recorded a cover of ABBA’s brilliant pop classic “S.O.S.” for the film, which should be a fun sonic treat. Anyhow, watch the clips below and we’ll all be on the lookout for what we’ll assume is a 2016 release date.
HIGH-RISE: Wheatley’s brutal brutalist nightmare takes a while to settle in, but might be defining film statement on Cameron’s Britain #LFF
— olilyttelton (@olilyttelton) October 8, 2015
— DIY (@diymagazine) October 11, 2015
— mr_wheatley (@mr_wheatley) October 7, 2015