Thursday, May 26, 2016

Film Review: HIGH-RISE

Leading man Tom Hiddleston paints his new apartment. (And he's the most normal one.)
The only redeeming quality about High-Rise is that it has no redeeming qualities, quite an achievement for a film that's been in the works for thirty years. Based on JG Ballard's 1975 sci-fi novel once deemed "unfilmable," the futuristic story is set somewhere around 1970s London, although you never see London or anywhere else since all the revolting action transpires inside the high-rise of the title. It's a tale so tall that honestly, it's just plain dumb. Much of the dialogue is incomprehensible, owing to all the British accents or just plain mumbling, but it hardly matters since whatever the actors are saying cannot possibly justify, or even explain, what you see on the screen.

If you must know, High-Rise attempts to be an allegory about the age-old struggle between the rich and the poor, I think. Inside a brutalistic, ultra-modern (back then) apartment building, the tenants are richer the higher up they live. Within weeks of occupancy by a bunch of sex-crazed lunatics things go awry when the electricity falters and the high-floor people get more of it than the low-floor people. Tempers flare, and I do mean flare, and suddenly people are eating their pets, drowning in the swimming pool and beating the shit out of their neighbors, unless they are raping them. Amidst all the mayhem a suicide is completely understandable, and in fact I envied the guy for getting the heck out of there.

The building's architect, played by a shockingly frail Jeremy Irons, lives in the penthouse which has an outdoor terrace the size of Central Park, complete with the trees and a horse or two. Apparently his wife is into riding. She's also into other women, but then everyone is into everyone, literally. As the chaos grows for reasons we never understand, orgies proliferate in every nook and cranny, so if you're shy about sex scenes stay away since there's always someone screwing someone somewhere in this pre-AIDS, free love culture where every last person smokes cigarettes, sometimes during sex.

People die, there's lots of blood and gore, and absolutely no logical story. If you are a weird pervert, or even just a run-of-the-mill pervert, you'll love it.

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