In a kind of 70’s future setting a new kind of housing development is being created – a massive 40 floor High Rise building. However while created with honest intentions it soon becomes clear that the floor system in place leads to huge divides in social standing. Very quickly the building breaks out into total chaos, while Tom Hiddleston attempts to achieve some form of anonymity.
I have not read High-Rise so I cannot comment of how accurate an adaptation it is, what I can tell you is that it’s incredible. Visually and sonically High-Rise is an absolute masterpiece and one of the most visceral experiences I have ever encountered in a cinema.
The production design in High-Rise manages to add an array of characters to the proceedings just with the backdrops. It manages to look like a future as imagined by the 1970’s, so it simultaneously retro and futuristic.
It isn’t just style over substance – though the style in unbelievable – High-Rise is also a pretty poignant social satire commenting on humanity’s inherent divisions. The cast here are also all on their A-Game. Whether it be Tom Hiddleston who acts as your window to the madness, trying his hardest to remain neutral, or Sienna Miller’s canny social climber. Luke Evans, Jeremy Irons and Elisabeth Moss are other standouts.
But for me the real stand out feature of High-Rise is the way that it so completely immerses you in the action that even when what is happening on screen is difficult to watch (as it quite frequently is) you can’t take your eyes off it. The music and the direction attack the viewer’s senses, leaving your emotions entirely in the palms of the film.
High-Rise isn’t just a film, it’s an experience. That may well be the corniest thing I have ever written, but watch the film and you’ll see what I mean.