The latest films have not been kind to us recently and that pattern continued with High Rise. High Rise was developed from the Novel by J G Ballard and is the story of a Doctor who moves into a high rise block in the 70’s. This block represents society and all that it is wrong with it. The poor live at the bottom and the rich at the top. There is an equal dislike for each other and a distinct feeling of inequality.
There is no real need to leave the high rise as everything is there. Many become isolated from the outside world as they shop, go to school, work, exercise all in one building. They party amongst their own class although these parties get out of hand. There is one man at the top who is the architect of the building and rules it. His idea however soon spirals out of control.
Things start to go wrong as the electric power cuts. This leads to panic as food is cleared off the shelves in the buildings supermarket. The people turn on each other and this leads to murder and rape. The building soon becomes a wreck and one man takes his own life. The people have become so wrapped up in their life inside the high rise that they forget about the outside world. Police and paramedics do not get a call as more and more people fall apart.
The Doctor is seen as the neutral one amongst the madness. He however gets lost in his own little world and accepts the behaviour of those around him. He is one of them despite only living their for 3 months.
This is an extremely strange film. I get what it is trying to do, but I felt it really didn’t work. The characters are so disgustingly horrible on every floor. Is this really representative of human society? The Doctor is devoid of any personality and the one man who questions high rise life is a complete brute and doesn’t have the vocabulary to challenge life there. He is completely without morality.
The performances are ok, but it is such a strange film that you wonder why such actors accepted the roles. The Abba soundtrack is interesting and tries to show the era in which this was set. The voice of Margaret Thatcher also tells you that you are living through the late 70’s. Was life this bad under her reign?
I was thoroughly disappointed in the film. I still want to read the book to discover the story behind the high rise.
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