High-Rise – Review

Wheatley is a mastermind and one of our most crucial directors. His work is always, without a doubt, unusual, different, and confident in showing the terror of humanity. A gifted genius who wields his camera with a unique view of the world we live in, he has crafted some of the most incredible films to date including the hilarious black comedy Sightseers, the terrifying Kill List, and hallucinogenic piece A Field in England.

This Friday, his next feature High-Rise takes to the skies with lofty ambition, but will it stand or topple over?

Based on the acclaimed book by J.G . Ballard, High-Rise revolves around Dr. Robert Laing who is part of an exclusive residence, in the hopes that he’ll be sheltered away from the outside world and enjoy a life on anonymity. However, his solitude dreams are shattered when the weird inhabitants of the titular place start swooping down on his alone time and he has to conform to the statures in place that are quickly spiralling out of control.

With Amy Jump, Wheatley’s wife and long-time collaborator, adapting the cult book to the big screen, the product is alive with deep themes and social-political commentary about hierarchy and the class system. Here, it is physically notable: The lower classes strewn at the bottom, the upper-classes snootily looking down from their luxurious apartments at the top, and middle classes lurking right there – in the middle.) This situation is held by the threads of power, food, and levels that are promptly shattered when a swimming party runs amok in the building. When the electricity cuts off, those within breakdown into tribal mess and separate themselves by their classes that leads to full blown war breaking loose.

Despite the hammering home of the depravity on display, making the film momentarily drag in pacing and story-telling, High-Rise is teaming with juicy philosophy and psychology that meld into this intricate portrayal of isolation and animal instincts running rampant with enough applied pressure. Feminism, racism, sexism, classism, and more – they are all torn down within Wheatley’s glorious work.

Leading the move is the ever impressive Tom Hiddleston, who is everyone’s man of the moment with this leading role and the one in BBC’s The Night Manager. Behind his devastating blue eyes is the most startling character; one who doesn’t take sides but charmingly adapts to them for survival. Unabashed by the feral qualities in different quadrants, Laing’s acclimatises to his surroundings in an almost crazed way, all the while staying somewhat calm on the outside, making him almost psychopathic in places despite showing remorse for being a somewhat catalyst to High-Rise’s events.

Hiddleston is, predictably, genius in his leading role but it’s Luke Evans that steals the film as the brutish and animalistic Richard Wilder. The Welsh actor who many will know from The Hobbit series and that dreadful Dracula Untold movie is utterly impeccable here. Wilder is somewhat of a gift to actors that Evans’ opens splendidly. Capturign the primal heart that races through Wilder’s blood-stream, giving him a roaring sense of red raging injustice, Evans’ also balances this despicable man with a charisma that you’ll find in many houses across the country: A violent working-class man who feels it is his duty to tear down the social constructs. Evans makes him approachable, likeable, and even a hero in places – despite giving in to his primal urges and being an utter bastard, acting contemptibly against those around him. The actor is a ball of energy that steals every scene he is in as Wilder races to the “Garden of Eden” at the top of High-Rise.

Hues of brown, green, and blue populate this alluring aesthetic that echoes the remnants of the seventies era. With the retro admiration for block patterns or floral spirals, the production masterfully captures the ghost of a by-gone era. Each level has a character that establishes the hierarchy and each colour used is specifically designed to honour the production appearance – from the chaos of colours on the bottom floor to the abundance of whites at the top, it’s a cleverly visual film. The setting – a decaying tower block – is made even more visceral by this historical setting as the rise of Social Media makes it tricky for us to feel isolated. Flared trousers and ABBA soundtracks High-Rise may contain (including a well-crafted cover of SOS by Portishead), but the era allows the dread of abandon to filter through. It also allows Wheatley and his team to craft a stylish and visionary piece that gifts the viewer redolent scenes that juxtapose one another in a mirror image of peace and war, rich and poor, light and dark, up and down. Surreal elements, part of the course when watching a Wheatley movie, only add to the pitiless escalation that’ll bewilder and entrance wholly.

An acting troupe of excellence help embellish the almost satirical elements of High-Rise which includes the likes of Sienna Miller, Elizabeth Moss, and Keeley Hawkes at their chaotic best. The film is already dividing audience members and critics which always denotes thematically thick and plentiful film that resonates completely. Long after viewing, you’ll be toying with your thoughts: The captivating scenes will roll constantly through your mind, the rage filled eyes of Evans will lock with your transgressive soul, and the thought of humanity going berserk over power outages, a tin of paint, and a few cases of wine will never truly leave your mind. Not without out it’s darkly comic moments either, High-Rise is an experience in every sense of the word.

Is this the director’s masterpiece? Uneasily (as I have so much appreciation for Sightseers that I dare stray from my favourite,) I’d say it’s his most accessible yet complex movie to date, where all the elements slot in a crooked manner. As grandiose as High-Rise is, it certainly solidifies Ben Wheatley’s stance in the film industry – a bold and daring filmmaker refusing to bow his films to critical consensus.

His masterpiece?

In many ways, all of Wheatley’s work are masterpieces. But High-Rise certainly towers greatly.

Race – Brand New Trailer!

There have been plenty of sports biopics and they come thick and fast. Whether it’s about the drug abuse of Lance Armstrong, or packing a punch with Muhammad Ali, any figure of significance will sure enough be immortalised on the big screen. With Eddie the Eagle already wowing audiences, now we turn to Jesse Owens who gets his own in upcoming flick – Race.

The film revolves around Owens’ Olympic stardom as he rose to prominence in a time of segregation and racial discrimination. Sent to the Berlin Olympics in 1930s, Jesse managed to see the Nazi regime and defy it in his famous acclaimed win…

Taking meaty subjects with a stellar cast, led by newcomer Stephan James, Race looks to be a tantalising look at a man who faced so much and defeated .

X-Men: Apocalypse – Brand New Trailer!

What really? Can we not just have one movie without the clawed creature rearing his ugly side-burned head? We’ve spent so long seeing Wolverine on screen that we are frankly sick of him. With the announcement of Apocalypse, we were a little excited knowing that Wolverine may not be in this. But apparently he is. What the hell Singer? Whilst we’d love to shove Hugh Jackman into every orifice of cinematic goodness, even we know there’s a limit.

After the events of Days of Future Past, there is something stirring within the mutant community. Worshipped as a god since his birth, Apocalypse hunts down powerful mutants to become immortal and invincible. Recruiting more mutants to his fold, including the heartbroken Magneto (after leaving Charles and walking this world alone,) the fate of the world is left in the hands of Raven, Professor X and the young X-Men.

Despite the reappearance of Wolverine, there are many exciting moments in this brand new foreign trailer including Magneto’s supposed family, Quicksilver’s hilarity, and more about Oscar Isaac’s villain. Basically, this brand new trailer made is wholly excited. We’re talking about pants wet, nipple erect, and drool emitting excitement.

The Accountant – Review

There are a lot of controversies surrounding the portrayal of autism and its sufferers. Savants, Asperger’s, and more mental illnesses are often stereotyped and portrayed with a Hollywood glow. They are often portrayed as genius who simply cannot talk to people or freak out whenever a routine is mishandled.

It’s an on-going issue, one that is gradually changing the further people highlight the issues. Yet , stubborn studios and writers seem to promote the same glaringly oblivious image of autism. This continues in the scarily dull The Accountant that imagines Ben Affleck as, not just an autistic accountant, but an assassin too.

The boring and utterly blank movie by Gavin O’Connor revolves around a math savant who has more affinity for numbers than people (aka, every smart person role ever created.) On the outside, he simple works for a small town CPA office. But behind closed doors, Christian runs every account for the criminal underbelly and soon the police are on his trail. Trying to throw the police off his scent, Christian decides to do bog-standard accounting for a prosthetic firm when a young woman, Dana, discovers a problem with the books. Unwillingly, the pair are thrown into the midst of a criminal warfare where someone will kill not to let his secrets come out…

Within the first fifteen minutes of The Accountant, I was checking my watch. Now, you may think it’s because I didn’t give the movie a chance – I really did. But those first fifteen minutes of watching the film made me feel that I had been there for an hour. The garish and incompetent film does nothing to develop characters, narrative, or even portray autism in a greater light. In fact, it’s pretty manipulative of the mental illness, using it as a plot device.

I can only imagine that the screenwriters, director, and producers were gathered around a big table trying to sell their ordinary assassin/mafia movie. After going through the whole list of “character traits” that have been used before, someone pipes up and says “How about we make him autistic?” Then the movie goes through a bunch of screen-writing to sell this device which mainly works as populating the screen with stereotypical autistic moments.

Image result for the accountant poster
Moving on from this painful depiction, the film has the worst script writing of the year. After the hundredth flash-back trying to explain the characters, you’ll be wishing you could flashback to your former self and tell them “don’t watch this film.” The movie is a waste of talent because it tacks on these awful histories to a predictable plot that never propels the intrigue further. Completely underwhelming, you can guess the narrative journey within minutes of the story, and that makes the movie slower. Much, much slower.

Ben Affleck has had a battered film career. He bounces through great to bad to awful to amazing. Behind the camera, he is consistently superb. The Accountant is another point to the bad side. With a complete banal script, all performances are wasted here.

The Accountant is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now! 

Talking Movies and Making Them Too