Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss
Director: Ben Wheatley
“Life for the residents of a tower block begins to run out of control.”(IMDb)
»Currently streaming on Netflix«
What to Expect
Tom Hiddleston paints his room
You Can Check Out Any Time You Like, But You Can Never Leave
Good old-fashioned classism
Why You Should Watch It
Wheatley is faithful to author J.G. Ballard’s bleak and modern style, even choosing to set the film in the era the novel was written. Similar to Lord of the Flies, it’s a self-contained dystopia in a modern world, with Evans and Hiddleston as foils for each others’ characters. It’s interesting to watch them both challenge and assimilate to their decaying environment in complementing ways.
The last lines of High-Rise give the audience the greatest insight into what the fuck is going on in this film. As Toby sits outside, listening to the radio, we hear Margaret Thatcher saying, “Where there is state capitalism, there will never be political freedom.” This implies that the anarchy the building is going through is true freedom. The tenants are no longer divided by class (floor) and freely mingle with each other. No one is confined to their professional job. Everyone looks out for each other – like the women affectionately standing around Helen’s newborn. There is even a suggestion that they are living by communism – the lower class has violently overthrown the upper class and each individual seems to have taken on their own role in the community. For instance, Hiddleston’s Laing is content to focus his psychiatric talents on the people of the building.
However, there appears to be more at work in High-Rise than mere anarchy or communism. The building has a certain allure to its tenants. They quickly decide they don’t ever want to leave their little microcosm, and murder those who try. And although Laing seems like an intelligent and sane person, he is drawn to the building’s chaos, opening himself to it. For all of Wilder’s (Evans) degenerate actions and frantic behavior, Laing was right in suggesting he was the sanest man in the building, because Wilder was the only one questioning what was going on. Laing, on the other hand, talks to the building, and waits for more in the complex to fall to ruin so that he can “help others surrender to a logic more powerful than reason.”