17 July 2016

DVD Review - High-Rise (2016)

Ben Wheatley has built a career making movies that not everyone likes, but this film is his most divisive yet.

I'm not quite sure what to think...which is the perfect sign that I've just witnessed a Ben Wheatley film. He has built a career making movies that not everyone likes, but this film is his most divisive yet.

I will agree that it is far from his best film but you cannot fault the filmmaking. It starts off with a lot of quick cuts and devolves into handheld long takes, which helps to convey the sense changes within the High Rise of the title.

This guy knows how to work a camera and along with Laurie Rose, one of THE best cinematographers of today, really bring the 70's to life. That's another thing I liked about it, they could have easily updated it to modern times and believe me it's just as relevant today as it was back then, but they stayed loyal to Ballard's book, and that is impressive.

A mix of Wheatley regulars (Peter Ferdinando, Julia Deakin, Tony Way, Eileen Davies, Reese Shearsmith, Neil Maskell) and first timers (Tom Hiddleston, Luke Evans, Sienna Miller, Elizabeth Moss, Jeremy Irons, James Purefoy, Keeley Hawes) all bring their best to this microcosm of mayhem. It does get a bit plodding, especially towards the end but it's still a fascinating piece of work.

I honestly think that if he were still alive it would be the type of movie Kubrick would have made but it doesn't stop being pure Ben Wheatley.

Included on the disc are a series of interviews with some of the principal cast, Tom Hiddleston, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans and Jeremy Irons and a featurette about adapting the book. Pretty much a basic EPK, of which some of the aforementioned interviews are reused. The bluray also includes extra interviews with some of the crew. The highlight of the disc, other than the film of course, is an audio commentary with Wheatley, Tom Hiddleston and producer Jeremy Thomas. Full of great little tidbits like the fact that each persons apartment is the same set redressed or that they had a very interesting way of filming a certain scene of violence. It just goes to show how good a director Wheatley is, erudite, smart but incredibly funny. A must listen.

 | Peter Fletcher

Drama |UK, 2016 | 15| Studiocanal | 18th July 2016 (UK) | Dir. Ben Wheatley | Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, Elizabeth Moss | Buy: [DVD] [Blu-ray] | Win High-Rise DVD

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