High-Rise ★★★★

I must admit, High-Rise is far apart from an easy viewing experience. The metaphorical language is quite excessive and hard to grasp within one viewing, the dialogue is quite complex and the brutality is unbearable by times. However, I loved it. High-Rise has plenty things to offer - Whether it's in terms of storytelling or imagery. Under its glamorous and splendid surface, there is so much content that it's almost impossible to grasp everything within one viewing.

From a technical perspective, High-Rise is nothing less than astonishing. They say the building is the secret star of this movie - it is. The set pieces look absolutely brilliant. What I loved most about the technical side of this movie was the colour composition. Paying some special attention to the colours gold, black, blue and grey, this movie made me feel like being on a trip. The references to Terry Gilliam were quite obvious, and that's definitely a good thing. The outstanding cinematography made it possible to set the scene effectively, and the soundtrack did the rest to create a atmosphere that was so nerve-jangling and arresting at the same time.

I feel like I need to pay some special tribute to one of my favourite bands, Portishead. Their cover of one of ABBA's biggest hits, 'SOS', was absolutely ingenious, and it was so perfectly placed in this movie. It was one of those very few moments that I like to call 'movie magic', and I'm just grateful to experience something like that.

I'd also like to pay some tribute to director Ben Wheatley. I have never read the novel by James Graham Ballard on which this movie is based on, but I can understand, why they say it's everything else than screenable. There's a lot of imagery and metaphors, and it's hard to set the right tone when you have a story like this, but I think that his directing was quite perfect.

Enough with the praising words, enough with the technical aspects, I'd like to delve more deeply into the story. If you haven't seen this movie yet, be aware of SPOILERS. A lot has already been said about the dystopian model of society that is represented within this high-tech skyscraper, so I won't bother you with this aspect. I'd like to take some kind of psychoanalytic approach. First of all, you need to know about Sigmund Freud's model of the psychic apparatus. According to him, every human being has got a "Super-ego" (idealistic, responsible for cultural norms), a "Id" (basic instincts, harbours the drives) and a "Ego" (consciousness) that is trying to mediate between the Id and the Super-Ego. Got it? Cool. I think, this whole concept of this skyscraper is just a concept that is happening in Dr. Laing's head. I think, Richard Wilder, who is living on the second floor, is representing his Id. He's representing his lust for alcohol, sex and licentiousness. Anthony Royal, the founder of the skyscraper is representing his Super-Ego, he's representing Robert Laing's moral authority. Last but not least, there's Robert Laing himself, perfectly played by Tom Hiddleston, representing the Ego, trying to mediate between his moral and his natural drives. I think, Robert Laing is a person that is fighting with the divorce from his wife and is therefore constructing a world to cope with that problem. At least, it sounds reasonable to me. END OF SPOILERS.

So, what is there to complain about in High-Rise. Well, the ending is a bit unsatisfying. I don't really know what to do with it as it feels a bit incomplete, and it feels like there is still a lot that hasn't been said. I won't, however, deny myself a good thing, because the the rest of this movie was simply way too brilliant.

The only thing I can do at the end is to recommend this movie to you, my friends. It's truly a terrific experience, and it's an experience that needs to be made in cinema, because it's the only place where this movie will develop its total effect. High-Rise is one of those movies cinema is made for.

Block or Report

Adrian liked these reviews