brutal social satire, high-rise, feels particularly potent while inhabiting a rapidly gentrifying city with a housing shortage during a soul crushing election year. if there’s a tinge of hope in the status-hungry dog-eat dog madness the film creates, it lies somewhere in the notion of starting over after the dust settles- if the dust is ever capable of settling, that is. high-rise implies we’re stuck in the rigid structure we’ve created, down to every can of paint we coat our walls with.
jg ballard’s brand of dystopian near-future is rarely brought to the big screen, and his tone is well harnessed by the breakneck screenplay, deeply felt and often campy performances(from jeremy irons, tom hiddleston, elizabeth moss, luke evans and sienna miller) and coldly precise mise-en-scene. as we see the coarse horse hairs of technology fray and humanity begins to reduce to violence and depravity, the heartbreak of it all sets in.
the tone remains somehow playful despite the pervasive misanthropy. high-rise is a messy, bombastic but ultimately reverberating cinematic oddity, closer in line with bunuel’s surreal mid-70s bourgeoisie baiting than a croenenbergian mind-fuck. jeremy irons is perfect as the hapless, hollow architect of society’s self destruction. tom hiddleston is mr. self destruct.
its primarily been called incomprehensible by most critics- see for yourself May 25th, one show only at Space Gallery, 7pm.