Movie: High Rise
My Rating: 2 stars
Ugh. What a piece of garbage. This movie is unwatchably bad. And, based on the online teaser I saw, I was really expecting to love it. The teaser led me to believe that this movie was going to be a surreal, black comedy, set in some sort of dystopic future, complete with twisted characters, mysterious murders, and some sort of evil game master pulling strings. But then, I viewed the official trailer right before watching the movie, and it made it look more like Snowpiercer in a condo building—stratified society, different floors for different levels of wealth, general dissatisfaction with one’s lot in life. And, that’s exactly what it turned out to be. The movie stars some big names like Tom Hiddleston, Sienna Miller, Elizabeth Moss, Jeremy Irons. So, I was expecting something of high quality. But, we ended up with someone’s attempt at a misguidedly disjointed art-house film.
Unfortunately, this movie doesn’t do viewers the favor of presenting the story in any kind of coherent narrative arc. Scenes are thrown together in a jumble. We’re introduced to a series of characters, but the movie never follows any of them long enough to piece together a plot line. The world-building seems intended more to disorient than to add context. Some parts seem to be set in modern day. Others seem to be from the 1960s. And still others, set in the far future. I couldn’t ever get a good read on it. Then to top the cake, it appears that a few art students must have gotten their hands on the footage, because there are a few fast-cut, fever dream, orgy scenes (that have nothing to do with the rest of the film), thrown in at random intervals. I really didn’t know what to make of the whole thing.
It’s such a shame that I hated this movie, because I was really looking forward to watching Tom Hiddleston starring in a sinister, black comedy. What a dreamboat. But, even after having watched the whole film, I still don’t really know what it’s about. Is it one man’s internal plunge into madness? A whole society’s nightmare descent into booze and pills? An allegory about the dangers of our decadent, Western lifestyle? Was the protagonist just having a nightmare the whole time? It really could be any of these. There are way too many things wrong with this movie for me to recommend it. The pacing makes this two-hour movie feel like an eternity. And, while the aesthetics are very attractive, the constant jumps between historical periods, and the jarring, cacophonous interludes, are just confusing. Watching this movie would only be an exercise in fatigue and frustration.