High-Rise ★★★★


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.

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