High-Rise - Penthouse Level Filmmaking

High-Rise - Penthouse Level Filmmaking

It's taken over 30 years to get High-Rise made, but what we got is great.

Read Full Article

"Those characters are played by some pretty accomplished actors, too, which makes them and their actions even more enjoyable to watch. I've already made note of Tom Hiddleston and Jeremy Irons, but we also get the likes of Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss, James Purefoy, Sienna Guillory, and Keeley Hawes in supporting roles"

Sienna Miller who?
Luke Evans who?
Elisabeth Moss who?
James Purefoy who?
Sienna Guillory who?
Keeley Hawes who?

I watch a lot of films and all those names mean nothing to me is this another list of actors only known about in California and the critic community?

P-89 Scorpion:
Sienna Miller who?
Luke Evans who?
Elisabeth Moss who?
James Purefoy who?
Sienna Guillory who?
Keeley Hawes who?

I watch a lot of films and all those names mean nothing to me is this another list of actors only known about in California and the critic community?

Sienna Miller: Foxcatcher, American Sniper, GI Joe: Rise of Cobra, Layer Cake, Factory Girl.

Luke Evans: The Hobbit movies, Clash of the Titans, Robin Hood, Furious 6, The Three Musketeers.

Elisabeth Moss: The West Wing, Mad Men ... and lots of indie movies.

James Purefoy: Rome, John Carter, A Knight's Tale, Resident Evil.

Sienna Guillory: Resident Evil 2/4/5, Eragon, Inkheart, Love Actually.

Keeley Hawes: Lots of British stuff, but also the voice of Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider games from '06-2014.

They're not A-listers, but it's not like they've done nothing, either.

Marter:
High-Rise wants to showcase to us how quickly society breaks down, and take a gander at precisely why.

I personally think that's a bit of a simplification, or, if it's accurate to the film, it is a little inaccurate to the novel and Ballard overall. I'd say environment is a huge thing for him, and it's what distinguishes The Drowned World, The Crystal World, and High-Rise.

In the book, at least, I felt that it was explicitly looking at what man-made environments do to our psyche. We are always shaped by our environment, but that shaping is then reshaped consciously and unconsciously, and it's that paradigm which High-Rise is most compelled to peer at. The high-rise itself is very often described as a natural phenomena, e.g. the exterior of the building as a cliff face - man responding to nature, mimicking it because it's all we know, but then that mimicry distorting when it becomes 'ours'/artificial.

If you'll forgive a favourite [non-spoilery] passage from the book:

Laing leaned against the parapet, shivering pleasantly in his sports clothes. He shielded his eyes from the strong air currents that rose off the face of the high-rise. The cluster of auditorium roofs, curving roadway embankments and rectilinear curtain walling formed an intriguing medley of geometries - less a habitable architecture, he reflected, than the unconscious diagram of a mysterious psychic event.

I've not seen the film yet, btw, and I'll probably have to wait for its home release. I was always a little nervy about any adaptation, though, because I just don't see how you can suitably replicate precisely how Ballard went about it. There are quintessential techniques used which can't really be approximated in a film, simply put; if a character in a book walks into a room, we only learn about the room and what's in it, and how it 'feels' courtesy of what the author chooses to tell us. In a film, we see a character walk into a room and the reality of the room is evident.

Cinema is, generally, too often an overly reliable narrator.

On page, High-Rise's true horror barely shows itself until the end, by which time the reader - just like the characters - has been acclimitsed to the mundane normality of it all; we don't really react, because the characters don't. In a film, how can we not see the reality of the escalation? Without very careful filmmaking, the surreal, dislocated psychological horror/non-horror is surely easily undermined.

If High-Rise does have a problem, it's a lack of characters who are in any way relatable.

Well that, at least, is accurate to all the books I've read of his so far (Hello America's up next). I've never read the novel of Crash because I love Cronenberg's film too much, but dispassionate and dislocated characters who aren't really supposed to be identified with - at least in conventional ways - seems to be a running theme.

Going off the rather nifty trailers alone, I'd say Tom Hiddleston's note-perfect for a Ballard lead, so I'm looking forward to his performance.

Darth Rosenberg:
Snip.

Your post made me want to read the book more then the review made me want to see the film.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here