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Thursday, April 21, 2016

HIGH RISE

A Tribeca Film Festival 2016 Selection

By D.E.Levine

Based on the novel High Rise by J.G.Ballard, this is a dark comedy that is strangely depressing and also eye-opening because we are viewing it in the 21st century.

Set in the 1970s in a new and totally modern building on the outskirts of London, the tenants are wealthy, snobbisb and spoiled.

The 40-story tower is a picture of excess with mirrored elevators, lavish carpeting (shag of course), modern appliances and gymnastic equipmet, an in-building grocery stocked with food,  All the sinage is in Eurostile Bold Extended, a futuristic typeface that gained popularity in 2001:  A Space Odyssey.

Whem bachelor Dr. Laing (Tim Hiddleston) buys a small apartment with a balcony and moves into 2505. His concentration is on women, mainly single mother Charlotte (Sienna Miller) and pregnant Helen (Elisabeth Moss).

 On the roof lives a wealthy Royal (Jeremy Irons). in complete luxury, who is a severe contrast to Wilder (Luke Evans) a TV producerwho travels into London every day to work.  Dwindling resources pit these two against each other.

As the building declines and results in class antagonisms, erotic drives and revealing allegories, Dr. Laing becomes a scavenger.  Violence and squalor reign supreme in the building while externally it looks presentable.

There is consistency in the worst insticts and urges, even as the various building surfaes decay and fluctuate.  Definitely, the building represents statification and alienation as the very wealthy live at the top and the poorer folks live further down on the lower floors.  Dr. Laing lives in the middle, definitely a commentary on his place in life.

Perhaps although classified as a dark comedy, viewers leave depressed because the building is such a dystopian microcosm.