High-rise (2015)

Very on-trend with recent nihlistic entertainment (Game of Thrones, House of Cards) where there are zero characters to sympathise with, High-Rise is vertiginous film about a very dire fact that is becoming apparent more and more these days: that high-minded efforts to create equality for the past century seem to have either been a veneer (in Western democracies) or a catastrophe (in communism). The film, an adaptation of a novel by JG Ballard, is very timely: there is greater awareness that social contract is used like a wet-wipe by the elites who were supposed to uphold it (see under: Panama leaks), and stronger willingness to go for anti-system options (salubrious or not). Given that covering such a topic usually ends rather soppily (“one good guy against the corrupt system”), the film’s great strength is that it does not shy away from the uncomfortable truth of the social struggle: everyone is in it to selfishly gain something, whether on top or bottom, and principles rarely factor. That way the film provides a much needed slap to those who cannot understand the popularity of Trump or Corbyn, but also shows that capacity for violence, deception and misery is a rather equally distributed across classes.
Stylistically, the film is hugely over-the-top (with a rather graphic medical demonstration) which sadly makes it more difficult to relate to its points, but, in a way, makes it very fun as you can feel certain dark joie-de-vivre in over the possible bloody end of our plutocratic, often hypocritical systems. The only exception to the raunchy/messy affair, is Tom Hiddleston, who does the distant, mercurial protagonist amazingly precisely, showing the simmering perma-angst of the lower-upper-middle class. The rest of the ensemble have gone for a much more heightened approach, which is entertaining, but often slips into caricature and some of the dialogue is a bit hammy. Anyway, if you have two hours and the stomach to see class battle-royal in beautiful 70s sets, I warmly recommend.

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