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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Movie Review - High-Rise

High-Rise (2016)
Starring Tom Hiddleston, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss, and Jeremy Irons
Directed by Ben Wheatley
***This film is currently streaming via Netflix***

High-Rise is like some very weird warped Downton Abbey -- an Upstairs, Downstairs-type situation that morphs into a Lord of the Flies-style war depicting the differences between the upper classes and lower classes in an amped-up, manic manner.  And, just as you'd imagine, the chaos of trying to mix those three aforementioned disparate British classics makes High-Rise a bit of a mess.  Although it's visually appealing with some beautiful sets and costumes coupled with a classically retro 1970s vibe, director Ben Wheatley's film simply doesn't work, overstaying its welcome by nearly a third and devolving into a mess in the flick's second half.

Brain surgeon Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston) has just moved into an apartment on the twenty-fifty floor of a new luxury high-rise forty-story tower built by architect Anthony Royal (Jeremy Irons) who himself lives in the penthouse with his uppity wife.  The high-rise contains a pool, gym, and even a grocery store, so its occupants find themselves with nary a need to leave.  The further up you live, the ritzier and more expensive your amenities become and the film soon becomes an allegory about class warfare with allusions at the end that capitalism is bad.

This is an odd film -- director Ben Wheatley peppers the flick with weird flash-forwards and it's full of some of the most bizarre characters I've seen in a long time.  The oddness of the whole thing had me intrigued initially, but I soon grew wary, only holding out hope that the allegorical nature would provide some philosophical intrigue.  Instead, the film becomes even odder, full of anarchic nihilism that had me angry I held on for as long as I did and didn't stop the flick sooner.  The cast admittedly gamely bites in to the quirkiness, but it's not enough to save this one.

The RyMickey Rating:  D+

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