High Rise (2016)


A doctor moves into a hi-tec apartment building but when the flaws in its systems become more and more apparent, its inhabitants succumb to anarchy and violence.

The premise of the High Rise as an analogy for modern society is so ham-fisted as to be almost laughably naive; the architect “Royal” lives at the top, while the entitled upper floors indulge in hedonism and pointless excess, looking down on the sycophantic middle who in turn look down on the lower floors as an unnecessary, over-populated burden. The one agitator rails against the literal lack of power in the lower floors and the educated liberal refuses to get his hands dirty, preferring to judge and commentate while their lives descend into ugly violence and murder. The lack of subtlety is reined in somewhat by an extremely dark sense of humour however; the appearance of Reece Shearsmith is not the only reason why it often reminded me of The League Of Gentlemen. It’s clearly influenced by A Clockwork Orange and Abigail’s Party in equal measure and the strange mix of violence, social satire and black comedy is rather unique, although not entirely convincing as narrative drama.

When the credits rolled I was still not entirely sure what to make of High Rise, but it’s certainly worth – and more than likely actually requires – a second viewing.




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