Watch High-Rise

"Leave the real world behind"
  • R
  • 2016
  • 1 hr 59 min
  • 5.5  (45,004)
  • 65

High-Rise is a 2015 movie that features an all-star cast including Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, and Elisabeth Moss. Directed by Ben Wheatley, the film is based on J.G. Ballard's 1975 novel of the same name. Set in a luxurious and sleek high-rise apartment building, the story takes place in the mid-1970s and focuses on the class struggle that ensues among the building's residents.

The film opens with Dr. Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston), moving into his new apartment located in a high-rise building situated on the outskirts of London. As he moves in, he meets a variety of residents, each belonging to different societal classes. The building has a fully equipped supermarket, gymnasium, swimming pool, and a restaurant, providing residents with every possible convenience. The building was designed to be a self-contained and self-sufficient society. However, as the story unfolds, conflicts and disorder start to shake up the utopian façade.

The story follows the different floors of the building, with the higher floors mostly occupied by the wealthy elites, while the lower floors are inhabited by the middle and lower classes. Initially, there seems to be an eerie calmness among the building's residents, but soon, the divisions and hierarchies among the classes become apparent. The building is a highly stratified society where the rich have all the power, the middle class are struggling to keep up, and the lower class are oppressed and marginalized.

The building's architect, Anthony Royal (Jeremy Irons), lives in the building's penthouse and is seen as the keeper of the building's order. However, as the lower floors start to break down, complete destruction of social order is soon to follow. At first, the conflicts start out as simple squabbles, like disagreements over whose dog is barking too much. But as tensions escalate, the conflicts become more serious, and the residents become embroiled in a battle that ultimately leads to violence and destruction.

The film never lets the audience forget the class struggles and themes of elitism which underlie the chaos. The higher floors with their opulence and extravagance are shown as disconnected from the chaotic lives of the people in the lower floors. The division is stark, and the film effectively captures the tension in the building-living microcosm. The audience sees how the lifestyles of the wealthy almost cast them as a completely different species from the residents of the lower floors. The inadequate facilities and repeated power cuts towards the lower floors continue to drive a wedge between classes.

The camera-work and cinematography are one of the most commendable aspects of High-Rise. The film is gorgeous to look at, with a 70s style color palette and lighting, and the retro drawing of the architecture of the building is mesmerizing. As the chaos starts to take over, the color palette becomes darker, and the mix of psychedelic and trippy colors in the lighting adds to the hallucinatory atmosphere.

Tom Hiddleston's performance as Dr. Laing is impeccable. He brilliantly captures the transformation of the character as he swiftly transitions from outward stability to a slow descent into madness. Hiddleston is convincing in that his character is a cool and calm doctor, who becomes a participant in the building's destruction but still passionately advocates for the building's preservation.

Jeremy Irons' character is fascinating as Royal is a preacher of self-containment within the building, promoting an almost cult-like ideology, and is at once captivating and unnerving. Sienna Miller as one of the lower floor residents, Charlotte Melville, gives a performance of taut frustration at the limitations of her life circumstances.

High-Rise has a lot to say about modern societies and class hierarchies. The oppressive narrative presented in the film feels modern, addressing issues that are relevant today. While the story is set in the 1970s, the underlying message is timeless.

In conclusion, High-Rise is a brilliantly crafted film that will keep audiences engaged with its pulsating themes and staggering performances. The film is a masterclass in storytelling that is visually stunning, contains brilliant performances from its ensemble cast, and packs a punch towards the end. This is an impressive adaptation of Ballard's novel that deserves critical acclaim.

High-Rise is a 2016 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 59 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.5 and a MetaScore of 65.

Where to Watch High-Rise
High-Rise is available to watch free on Plex, The Roku Channel Free, Pluto TV, Tubi TV and Vudu Free. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent High-Rise for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 59 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.5  (45,004)
  • Metascore