Review: High-Rise (2016)


Originally published at:


Not to mention the top-heavy architecture of the actual buildings which - simultaneously - reminds me of the brow of the stupid throwback Neanderthals.

(Sorry, Neanderthals. My generation was misled to believe you were a dim bunch).


You might want to check out the word ‘arcology’ and read the Niven and Pournelle novel 'Oath of Fealty. ’


Isn’t this movie two years old now?!

Personally, I found it to be Ben Wheatley’s least successful movie so far (though A Field in England was baffling to me.) Certainly not in the same class as Kill List or Sightseers.


an Arcology is a very large building with a self-contained ecology and a high population density, built in the shape of a rainbow.


I think this may have been the inspiration for Fyre Festival.


I actually love A Field in England, anything with Michael Smiley in it is good with me.


And then, when the lights go out, everything goes to hell.

The Doctor will get this apartment complex sorted out.


…the movie counterposes superficial social realism against dreamy surrealism in an attempt to triangulate the novel’s hyperreal quality with its period setting and the presumed ironic sensibilities of a contemporary audience.


I was excited for the movie as I am a fan of the book, but I really think Wheatley didn’t understand what Ballard was getting at. The movie makes the conflict a simple case of class warfare as in Snowpiercer. While there was a small mention of class in the book (hard to avoid class when writing about 1970s Britain), the real issue was Ballard’s theme (repeated in much of his work) that people are inherently selfish and violent and it is only social convention that prevents people from acting on these impulses. Remove the social structure and people’s true nature is revealed.


Must a movie strictly repeat a book’s themes?

Perhaps Wheatley disagrees with Ballard? Or did he say in some interview that his intent was pure fidelity to Ballard?

As for the implication that Ballard is right, I for one find it just as or even more simplistic to say that underneath it all, people are always selfish and violent (and I rather doubt that’s Ballard’s ultimate point).


I started watching this recently and got bored after 15 minutes and turned it off.


The impression I got, was that some people are indeed dangerous, but without those people around life just…continues, and does so quite reasonably.

Society’s rules exist because those people who need rules exist, and without enforcement, the problematic truth reveals itself.


That makes more sense to me, especially if you’re talking about Ballard, instead off the movie (well, I guess it makes sense if you’re talking about the movie too, which I think I should watch). My dim memory of Ballard’s work is also that it’s a critique of pathological social structures, not of (supposed universal, inherent) human evil.


I think if the movie condemned anything, it was the willingness of most people to just fall into those social patterns, regardless of consequence.

At one point, a certain character is about to be killed by single person, and instead of booting the guy in the junk, or poking his eyes out etc, the character just kind of struggle feebly as he’s dressed in a silly costume and chivvied to the edge.
It’s an event that’s repeated often enough to become a major theme in the film, at least.


That actually sounds like an apt allegory for Western societies in general, where people who enjoy material comfort blithely do so at the expense and even death of others. Thanks (and to @beschizza too), I must see this movie.


I watched this a few months ago on a flight. At first, I found it fascinating and compelling but as the film wore on I found it less and less appealing to watch. Perhaps I might have made it through the whole thing under other circumstances, but it in the end I just turned it off and possibly watched some instantly forgettable superhero movie instead.


Ballard’s stories aren’t necessarily appealing to read either. Not in the fuzzy instantly forgettable way of your forgotten super hero movie. They are often dark and dramatic, severely logical within their frame of reference, but leading to horrifying consequences.


I’ve thought about it overnight and have a growing feeling it’s too long and could lose a good 20 minutes, at least. It’s not a 2-hour premise. You either pare down the pathological soap opera elements, or so fully indulge them you need a TV series.

In fact I think this could have been a really great TV series–same cast and crew!


“the result has a weird 1980s artsy zaniness to it, as if directed by Peter Greenaway or Ken Russell”

As a big Ballard fan, who will be walking into this with full knowledge that the depth & themes of the novel might not be receiving their full due, this has me full-on fucking sold on seeing it at least once.