Tag Archives: Ben Wheatley

High Rise – DVD & Blu-Ray Review

Surrealism is by far one of the most interesting film genres, if not the most accessible or enjoyable. It aims to shock and confuse, to create an eventful experience that usually makes zero sense. Problem is, as well crafted as they may be, it’s hard to appeal to most audiences in this case, as most surrealist films alienate those who watch. Well, it’s still a wild ride, but High Rise is one of the most accessible surrealist films in recent years.

Now, it’s accessibility comes from not being strictly surreal; the narrative isn’t linear, but there’s definitely one there. Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston) is a physiology doctor who moves into a high rise apartment complex, where the rich live at the top and the poor live at the bottom. With Laing’s arrival, the barriers start to get broken, and before long, chaos ensues. High Rise is enthralling for it’s first two acts; it’s so wonderfully weird and random.

A lot of the time, it’s hard to tell what’s going on, but that almost doesn’t matter. In fact, that actually helps. The way it delves deep into these inexplicable oddities yet maintains an overarching message of class war is deliriously entertaining to watch, and that’s in large part due to the cast. Tom Hiddleston is as charming as ever, offering one of the best acts of his career yet. Sienna Miller, Jeremy Irons and Elisabeth Moss all do a fine job of their characters, but the real show stealer is by far Luke Evans as documentary filmmaker Richard Wilder. Evans completely loses himself in the role. There isn’t a single shade of the real man left, he is 100% the character. Wilder is rambunctious, angry and an absolute delight to watch. Evans deserves as many awards as he can get for what is definitely the finest performance he’s ever given.

Adding to the unbelievable atmosphere is the stunning use of camera; Whatever the occassion, Ben Wheatley knows exactly what he’s doing to keep his films engaging and interesting visually, and High Rise is truly a sight to behold. The cinematography is beyond stunning, the colours vibrant, the editing quick when it needs to be and slow when it doesn’t, and a soundtrack that is to die for. It is by far one of the most exceptionally crafted films of the year, and further proof that Wheatley is one of the best directors working.

Where this film falls apart is in it’s third act; the first two are chaotic and random, and it’s a rather nice serving to eat up fast. However, it gets very tired after a while. Without spoiling it, the film finds itself in a certain state towards the end, and that state just isn’t anywhere near as interesting as it was before. It does frankly get quite boring, though had the film been a tad shorter, it might not have felt this way.

Still, it’s not enough to tarnish what is otherwise an enthralling big ball of madness. High Rise is tantalizingly weird, expertly performed, and phenomenally crafted. It’s an often confusing but deliriously fun experience that holds up as one of the best films of the year so far.

Free Fire is out in cinemas now! 

Free Fire – Screening and Q&A at The Ritzy!

We here at We Make Movies on Weekends are deeply, deeply enamoured with Free Fire, Ben Wheatley’s latest masterpiece.

If you want to know the reasons why, just check out our review!

Free Fire isn’t officially out in the UK until Friday 31st March, but The Ritzy Picturehouse in Brixton will be showing the film on Thursday 30th and following it up with a Q&A session with none other than Ben Wheatley himself!

Tickets are available now, so go and snap them up before you miss out on a chance to see this absolutely incredible film that’s packed with a stellar cast and full to the brim with pithy one-liners.

Do you really think you can afford to miss out on this amazing opportunity?

Nah. I didn’t think so.

Free Fire is out March 31st 

Free Fire – Review!

The Mexican Standoff is a tried and tested storytelling trope; it’s a great way to build tension while maintaining the dialogue necessary to give exposition to the story. Normally, the standoff lasts for a short while before someone shoots or chickens out, leaving the other parties to complete their task. But can you keep the tension and other elements of this storytelling technique and translate it into an hour and a half film? That’s what Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire attempts to answer.

The entire plot of Free Fire reads like a more action-oriented Reservoir Dogs. Two IRA members travel to Boston during the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland to buy guns and further their cause. Unfortunately after some choice words are spoken and memories of a previous night are brought up, the sale devolves into a tense gun battle as everyone attempts to get out alive with their part of the deal.

It is incredibly easy to see Director Ben Wheatley’s hand guiding the film as he blends nigh-on hyper-realistic violence with dark humour to create a wickedly thrilling tale that draws you in. Slowly but surely you realise, too late, that you’re hooked.

A large part of this film’s success lies in the strength of its small but incredibly strong and talented cast, featuring such powerhouses as Brie Larson (Room, Short Term 12) Sharlto Copley (District 9, Elysium) and Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later, Peaky Blinders) to name but a few. Each of the cast brings something important to the story, and to remove any of them from the film would see the entire plot come crashing down.

Of particular note on the character front is Brie Larson’s Justine. Despite being the only female in the cast, she is one of the strongest characters in the film by far, managing to eschew the traditional gender roles of the era (screaming and waiting to be rescued by the hero) and holding her own throughout the firefight by covering her allies as well as performing battlefield surgery on various wounds that she and others obtain. Whilst it is safe to say that everyone is in top-notch form throughout the film, the same cannot be said for Jack Breyer’s American accent. It’s ultimately a rather nit-picky thing to pick up on, but it’s hard to avoid the slight Irish twinge that creeps in to his voice every so often.

The bullets aren’t the only part of the film to come thick and fast, the film’s dialogue manages to maintain a rapid, and fluid pace as well. The entire script is filled with fantastically witty one-liners and prevents the action on-screen from falling into a melodramatic, over-the-top Mexican standoff. It is a true testament to Wheatley’s craft that he can create an almost ironic jovial conversation despite the pervasive sense of tension that continually builds up as each character starts to dig themselves in deeper and deeper.

Mixing in with the snappy script is a plethora of absolutely gorgeous visuals and a soundtrack that complements the aesthetic perfectly, with the possible exception of the finale. That is not to say that the music used during the finale hinders the overall punch for the scene or setting, rather the juxtaposition of the song compared to the imagery takes the denouement from to the next level. To say much more would be to spoil the film, but it is worth it.

Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire is an utterly astounding piece of cinema, and definite must-see if you are a fan of his previous works. Absolutely nothing goes to waste throughout the 90-minute runtime as the scene jumps from one set piece to the next. I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed.

Free Fire is out 31st March 

Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire to Close BFI London Film Festival!

We absolutely love BFI London Film Festival. Every single time we hear an announcement, we get so blissfully excited. First of all, hearing about Amma Asante’s fantastic A United Kingdom opening the festival and now we know exactly what’s closing the festival.


Wait, sorry, professional.

The upcoming heist thriller some the cult independent director is the third film Wheatley has showcased at the BFI London Film Festival including High-Rise and Sightseers. The directors upcoming film stars Academy Award winner Brie Larson and whilst we haven’t much news on the film yet, the film revolves around Justine who gets involved in gun warfare and a heart stopping game of survival ensues.

Of the showing, Ben Wheatley says “I’m very proud to be showing Free Fire at the BFI London Film Festival. To be the closing film is a great honour. LFF have been fantastic in supporting the films I’ve made (me and an army of 100s) and I can’t wait to show Free Fire to the Festival audience!”
BFI London Film Festival Director, Clare Stewart says: “Ben Wheatley’s ascent as one of the UK’s most dazzling cinematic talents continues with this ballsy actioner. Dripping with blood, sweat and irony, Free Fire ‘s bravura filmmaking pays knowing tribute to the films of Sam Peckinpah and features a terrific cast who clearly relish bringing Wheatley and co-writer Amy Jump’s vivid characters to the screen. We are thrilled to be presenting the European Premiere as our Closing Night gala, ensuring that the 60th edition of the BFI London Film Festival goes out with a bang!

Wheatley, Brie Larson, BFI!

Those are three words that make us quiver in our film panties!