How will polite society react when society is no longer polite?
It takes a lot to convince a man who has spent hundreds of thousands of hard earned dollars that he has been ‘dudded’.
For Brian surgeon Dr Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston) it is only the breakdown of polite society, that swiftly and inexorably turns his high society penthouse building into a den of depravity and debauchery. A haven for those who would indulge every whim as all humanity crumbles and devolves around them.
While the money may never run out, it’s value – and the items to spend it on – do. As the High Rise becomes a Hierarchy, the ‘haves’ swiftly remove themselves from the ‘have nots’, before it becomes a case of do what you feel, or stand silently by in judgment. There is no law enforcement or arbiters of taste to impose will or righteousness, only indulgence.
High Rise might be a bleak cautionary tale full of sex and depravity, but this Clockwork Orange for a new age has already been told. Better. Where Snowpiercer was horizontal and infinitely more stylish, High Rise remains vertical, though with lower aspirations.
Unfortunately though that doesn’t make it less plausible. In our current ‘I must Win’ world when things go to pot it is all too believable that an every man for themselves outcome will ensue. If the end of the world does arrive, and we’re waiting Mr Trump, it won’t be how we work together, but who we finish off than that dictates our sense of fulfilment.
That’s a bleak future right there, and High Rise might be nearer the mark than Snowpiercer, but that doesn’t make it a better film, just a sadder one.
Tom Hiddleston does his best to remain stoic as the world and his sense of decorum yield to pressure, but High Rise is a stylish stage play made for a niche audience who likely have better things to fill their niches with.
Final Rating – 6 / 10. Just another ‘how will the end of the world look’ film.