Star – Tom Hiddlestone
Genre – Drama/comedy
Run Time – 120 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – UK
Awards – 8 nominations
Amazon – £5.00 DVD £8.99Blue Ray
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I’m a big fan of Ben Wheatley and so when High Rise came out, his latest film, I didn’t hesitate to put it on the must see list. I left it for a bit as the reviews weren’t great but it stars Tom Hiddlestone and my favorite little minx Sienna Miller so it stayed on that loyalty list. Wheatley’s first film was called Down Terrace, a low budget gangster movie from Brighton, distinctive for its everyday villains and paranoid messed up violence. Kill Bill followed in the same crime genre that was even better and then Sightseers, the funniest film of 2014. Surely High Rise would be OK in the end. Isn’t it?
It’s a film based on the JJ Ballard book of the same name and a stalled passion project for producer Jeremy Thomas for over three decades. It was once deemed "unfilmable." by many and so proved the case. It borrows from Clockwork Orange in mindless 70s violence and period look and Wheatleys strong and popular cast seemed to save this from the worse of the critics tongue, man of the moment Tom Hiddlestone the stand out name, and he is totally naked here girls and not just a bare bottom to ogle at.
Tom Hiddleston ... Laing
Jeremy Irons ... Royal
Sienna Miller ... Charlotte
Luke Evans ... Wilder
Elisabeth Moss ... Helen
James Purefoy ... Pangbourne
Keeley Hawes ... Ann
Peter Ferdinando ... Cosgrove
Guillory ... Jane
Reece Shearsmith ...Steele
Enzo Cilenti ... Talbot
Augustus Prew ... Munrow
Dan Renton Skinner ... Simmons
Stacy Martin ... Fay
Tony Way ... Robert the Caretaker
A new forty storey high-rise, built by esteemed architect Anthony Royal (Jeremy Irons), is the chic of modern living in 1970s London and getting its finishing touches as the well-healed residents move in. The higher you live in the tower the more esteemed you are with the richest of all living on the top floors in the penthouse suits. But the high-rise provides its tenants with a communal swimming pool, gym, spa and supermarket and even a primary school for some mixing. The idea is there is little reason to leave the building outside of working hours.
As time goes by there are some technical faults with the new build and the caretaker (Tony Way) getting complaints. But the building is a success and its occupants gradually choose to become isolated from the outside world as they enjoy the intimacy discontent from the grind.
The handsome Dr Laing (Hiddlestone) is moving into an apartment on the 25th floor, after his sister dies. He begins a relationship with sexy single mother Charlotte Melville (Sienna Miller) on the floor above and becomes a fatherly figure to her son, Toby (Louis Suc). He also becomes friends of sorts with alpha male Richard Wilder (Luke Evans) and his heavily-pregnant wife Helen (Elisabeth Moss), who live 15 floors below the doc in a much smaller apartment with their screaming kids. The doc is quietly spoken and not much of a mixer and so makes him of interest to some of the other residents.
The next day, Laing is invited to the privileged 40th storey penthouse to meet Royal, where he finds an extravagant rooftop garden and is invited to a swanky decadent party being thrown by Royal's snobby wife, Ann (Keeley Hawes). The do is an 18th-century costume party but Laing quickly thrown out of the party for not being dressed for it with comments hurled at him by the upities.
As the power outages become more common, along with water being shut off and garbage chutes becoming blocked, the lower-floor residents are becoming increasingly annoyed as the top floors are not suffering these problems. Law and order begin to disintegrate in the building due to the failing infrastructure and increasing tensions between floors. Violence becomes commonplace, food from the supermarket becomes scarce and the building devolves into class warfare.
You know the opening scene to The Meaning of Life when the skyscrapers do battle with each other as the bowler-hatted salary men go to war in a bid for freedom? Well that pretty much sums up this Ben Wheately misfire. Even The Pythons would struggle to get this to work on screen. The film opens with Tom Hiddleston killing a white Siberian husky and spit roasting it an its downhill from there, the only highlight being that Tom Hiddlestone moment. It would not surprise me if that wasn’t a late decision by the film company as they knew the film would be a hard sell and so that would sit well in the trailer, which it did. If you didn’t know, Tom is a ‘confirmed bachelor’ in real life and that will either clincher or be the finisher for the big Bond job, when it arises.
The majority of critics gave this the benefit of doubt with 61% on Rottentomatos as they clearly saw something we mere mortals didn’t, the later giving it a resounding tomato splat of 37%. To me it’s all too pretentious and messy and with no real narrative and that Monty Pythonesque look very much misplaced. You can see Wheatley is pulling hard from Clockwork Orange and a film he clearly adores but that movie was also pretentious and muddled and so this could only be that. It’s the type of film that would work better as an episode of Dr Who or something and interesting to know Wheately had directed two episodes of Peter Cappaldi’s Dr Who just before this was made. In fact in the extras he says it was loosely based on an old Dr Who episode called The Tower. There is a low budget film called Tower Block with Jack O’Connell that uses the claustrophobic entrapment of a London skyscraper so much better and I would watch that instead guys.
It bombed, even with enough of the important broadsheet critics behind it, the budget of $6 million scraping back just $3.6 million with the disapproving public, that scraping sound like finger nails on a chalkboard for Wheatley. It’s a set back but he will quickly recover. Hiddlestone doesn’t really fit as the uptight middle-class doctor and the rest of the strong British and American cast somewhat wasted, the hulking Luke Evans the standout for me in that boozy Ollie Read preliterate role. I have a bit of crush on Sienna Miller so she can do no wrong and some steamy naked sex scenes with Hiddlestone to enjoy. She has tremendous tits.
All agree Wheatley is an excellent filmmaker but just go too greedy and overconfident here for this project. It remains an un-makable film. I get the message of the book and I’m sure that was an electric naughty read back in 1970s and 80s like most of his stuff but its 2017 and the world has moved on and the Class War already played out Trumps arrival suggesting the proletariat are now winning. I would avoid this one like Trump.
Imdb.com – 5.7/10.0 (23.538votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 61% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 65% critic’s approval
-Audi Commentary –
Ben Wheatley and Tom Hiddlestone try to convince us they have made a profound clever film.
Cast & Crew chat about this and that
-Bringing Ballard to the Screen-
As people have said, this book should not be a film. It proved the case.
Daily Star –‘Incoherent, pretentious and painfully self-indulgent’.
East Bay –‘High-Rise refuses to let us off with a whiff of revolutionary outrage when a truckload is so easy to dump off’.
The Times –‘It's one of those works of futurism that seems simultaneously very prescient in its time, and slightly dated in ours. It underscores its points with a yellow highlights’.
Variety –‘It could take decades for critics and audiences to appreciate whatever genius lurks behind the chaos, but for the time being, it seems like little more than madness’.
Financial Times –‘ In High-Rise the fitfully brilliant Briton Ben Wheatley, with writing partner Amy Jump, seizes what seems a perfect-fitting text -- JG Ballard's dystopian novel High-Rise -- and makes an omnishambles of it’.
Hollywood Reporter –‘There is a goldmine of rich material here, all beautifully shot, but fatally lacking in focus or momentum.
Chicago Reader –‘Director Ben Wheatley ("Kill List") is masterful with arresting imagery set in a dystopian spin on the '70s; less so with a compelling narrative’.
Chicago Reader –‘No matter how much one shades the characters, though, High-Rise defies adaptation because the most vivid character is the building itself’.
I can't really understand what the general objection to multiplex cinemas is; granted, they only tend to show the latest Hollywood releases so you're not going to find the latest 'art house' / foriegn films in these types of venues, but on the plus side - and from my point of view, it is a really big plus - they are generally sited outside of city centres so if nothing else you're rarely, if ever, going to find yourself stuck sitting beside a stinking tramp who's only come in to shelter from the cold / rain.
Harsh, and not very PC to homeless people admittedly, but some years ago I vividly remember sitting through a showing of 'Last of the Mohicans' in the - at that time - two-screen town cinema in Aberdeen's city centre (two screens, so there was nothing else we wanted to see on). The dialogue was inaudible because of the poor sound system / acoustics in the geriatric, grimy picture house, and the flatulent tramp sitting in front of us broke wind constantly throughout the entire performance.
Happily, shortly after that I moved to the south-west where you generally get a choice of more than two films at the cinema, and even better, where they have multiplexs, of which the 'Vue' at Cribbs Causeway is my personal favourite.
It doesn't smell and it isn't grimy because they clean it after every performance; it's been in situ for at least 10 years but the seats and flooring are still in good nick so it appears that they do maintain / occasionally refurbish it; Cribbs Causeway is effectively inaccessible to anyone who doesn't have access to a car so that tends to weed out the weirdo-element you often find with city-centre cinemas, and with a 12 screen (and I see from the very useful website) 2600-odd seat capacity it almost never gets crowded or full up. The exception to this is perhaps for avidly anticipated, summer blockbuster type features, for which, at peak showing times (any time from about 4 - 9pm) especially at weekends may become short of seats - but that's the beauty of 'Vue' - showings of the newly-released films run, at peak times, approximately every hour to hour and a half, so in the unlikely event that you arrive and find your chosen showing is sold out, you don't have long to wait for another similar one. At Cribbs Causeway there are lots of things you can do to occupy a bit of time; e.g. many (pretty poor) chain sit-down restaurants of the 'Bella Italia' and 'TGI Fridays' variety adjacent, also a bowling alley and a big shopping mall across the road from the 'Vue'.
There are a number of 'special programmes' available at the Cribbs Causeway 'Vue'. They quite regularly show kids films, even repeat showings of ones that have been on release for a while, at weekends during the afternoons; there are regular subtitled performances of certain popular films, adults-only showings of standard films later in the evening, and occasional 'one of a kind' performances - like midnight showing of horror flicks, or the singalonga showings of 'Mamma Mia' that were so popular last summer.
The ticket staff do tend to be a bit on the gormless side. This, combined with the excruciatingly slow approach taken to deciding on a film / buying the ticket for it that I've noticed seems to affect many patrons of the Cribbs Causeway 'Vue' as they cluster round the point of sale means that it'll take you disproportionately more time to buy your cinema ticket than it should do. You might try purchasing a ticket using your credit card online, via the cinema's website, but the machine just inside the foyer from which you collect such advance bookings is often out of order, so you generally have to wait in the queue in any case. They accept cash, credit and debit cards, but don't have chip 'n pin yet so you have to sign for your tickets. There is a standalone 'Halifax' bank machine in the car-park, not far from the entrance to the cinema where you can get cash.
They also accept at the time of writing, 'Nectar' reward points - 1000 points buys you a standard adult ticket to get into the Cribbs Causeway 'Vue'. As you only get 1 Nectar point per £1 you spend, this isn't exactly the deal of the century, but since there's not a lot else worth £7-8 worth having that you can trade in 1000 Nectar rewards points for it might work out OK for some people. If you want to spend your Nectar points at the cinema, just take along your Nectar reward card; be vigilant however, as the aforesaid often generally gormless sales staff are very likely to make a mistake during the transaction.
The ticket prices are not cheap - £7 to £8 for a peak-time showing of film. The food prices in the foyer are ridiculously expensive - as they always are at the cinema; they've got all the usual popcorn, sweet, soft drinks and ice-creams you usually find on sale in these sorts of venues. I don't buy food at the 'Vue' myself because it's a blatant rip-off - you're looking at over a quid for a small bottle of water and I don't know, checking your overdraft facility before considering a purchase of popcorn, but this is absolutely standard for cinemas everywhere, of course, so not a bad point against this particular branch. The toilets tend to be OK if the cinema isn't too busy.
At the Vue the advertised start of a film actually refers to the start of 15-20 minutes of advertising mostly for mobile phones and I-Pods that you have to sit through before the trailers for upcoming film releases even begin. The actual programme doesn't start till some time after that. I find it a good idea to arrive for any film I want to see 15 minutes after it is due to start for this reason, but as they turn the lights off you'll need to bring along a small torch so you can find a free seat.
I recently visited my family in Bristol, and seeing as it was my Birthday I decided to ask my mum to babysit so me and hubby could go to the cinema. Something we haven't done for about a year!
The local cinema was Vue at Cribbs Causeway and it has been quite a long time since we used it, when we were younger we used to go every couple of months.
We went at what I would class as peak time, 8pm Friday. I was amazed to see no queues as we walked through the door, I then realised there was a sign stating that you could buy your tickets either from the food concessions or from the automatic dispensers. This seemed a little odd at what I thought was a peak time, we decided to buy tickets from the dispensing machines in the front entrance to avoid disappointment, but found that only 1 out of the 5 there were working!
Anyway, tickets in hand (at £7.10 per adult!) we then felt it was time to go and bankrupt ourselves on food to take in with us. As usual the prices were hugely inflated but it was a treat so we ignored the £4 for popcorn, £2 for nachos and I really did ignore the price of the drink! As you can imagine with no-one selling tickets at the door the queues for the food were quite large but the staff were serving fairly quickly. You could also buy ice cream and pick and mix sweets (£1.15 per 100g) from a separate counter, and I also noticed that they had a bar, but you could not take drinks from the bar into the cinema.
This is a large cinema with either 10 or 12 (sorry, memory not very good) screens and they show all the latest releases. They have great seats, set out in a way that you never have someone with a large hat sitting in front of you getting in the way, and the arm rests go up so if you are feeling cold (why is the heating always down so low?) you can snuggle up with your cinema companion, or keep them down if you like!
The staff are generally helpful, the screens are cleaned after every film so no sticky bits on the floor or popcorn on the seats!
They only get 2 stars as I feel taking away a ticket desk at peak times is a daft idea, especially if they cannot keep their dispensing machines in order!
**We saw Fools Gold for anyone interested, and it was fairly good!**