The Film (4/5)
It's odd to watch a film that is quite excellent and still be left with a feeling that you've a) seen it before and b) seen it done better. However, that was the feeling I was left with after watching Ben Wheatley’s latest film High-Rise based off the 1975 novel by noted sci-fi author J.G. Ballard. The odd thing is that as far as official adaptations of High-Rise goes this is the only film to ever adapt this story. However, auteur David Cronenberg for his debut feature film Shivers (aka They Came from Within) in 1976 created a film that used High Rise's ideas as a template for his own sexual bacteria gone awry story, and created what is essentially a fine take on High Rise, just not in name.
High Rise (2015) is the latest film from British director Ben Wheatley whose work I've admired since seeing one of his most recent films A Field in England. He is a director whose work has a distinct vision, and is making some of the most interesting films today, and I will say his High Rise is a notable success. The film stars Tom Hiddleston (Crimson Peak) as Dr. Robert Laing, a man who has just moved into the upper floors of a modern apartment complex. The film begins by depicting the life of Laing and the people of the complex. The people up top are of the upper class, and the people on the lower floors are the poor, lower class. Things begin to go awry as power outages and issues begin to occur on the lower floors until war begins to break out between the literal haves and have-nots.
The film feels largely Gilliam-esque in it's approach. It is science fiction with a heavy dash of bizarre social satire. The performances are quite excellent all around with Hiddleston doing quite well as a man slowly becoming detached as society falls apart around him. This performance helps sets the tone for the adaptation itself which is less about the action then the result of said action. The film has sharp interesting visuals, and is absolutely another worthy entry into Wheatley's growing filmography.
The Blu-ray of HIGH RISE is presented in a very nice 2:35:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer. Colors are well reproduced and detail is excellent throughout. The audio is presented with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track in English, dialogue and score come through clearly and I did not detect any issues with the tracks.
The disc kicks off with a commentary track with Tom Hiddleston, Ben Wheatley, and Jeremy Thomas. There are also multiple featurettes, and trailers.
High Rise is a solid working of the J.G. Ballard source, and is an entertaining and quite interesting film from director Ben Wheatley. The Blu-ray looks and sounds quite good, and has a nice slate of extras. RECOMMENDED.