Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Loki’s Anachronistic Class War, or Thoughts on Tom Hiddleston in High-Rise

 High-Rise (2015), a surreal thriller set in a dystopian version of 70’s London, teases the viewer with an alternate past that seems closer to our modern-day future.  From the novel by JG Ballard, most notable screen adaptations being David Cronenberg’s Crash (1996), about the fetishizing of car crashes and the cult that surrounds it and Empire of the Sun (1984), High-Rise is an experiment in Social Darwinism that ultimately leads to anarchy in the UK, or at least at this one building.  Think Lord of the Flies with a dash of Chuck Palahniuk, with a soundtrack not by the Sex Pistols, but Abba. 
Tom Hiddleston stars as Dr. Robert Laing, who moves into a luxury apartment building and finds himself experiencing the same materialistic existential dread that the narrator suffered from in Fight Club (1999).  Being Tom Hiddleston, it’s not long before he attracts the attention of his female neighbors and gets involved in the power struggles, both social and sexual, of the building.
The tower block is a temple of concrete and glass with an elaborate English country garden on the roof, complete with goats, horses and 17th Century costumes.  There’s also a swimming pool and a supermarket on the 15th floor and the building functions more as a vertical village, complete with it’s own government and social classes.  The quirky neighbors give him the sense that he’s breaking the rules while inviting him to swimming dates and parties with the aforementioned 17th Century costumes.
It isn’t long before a class war erupts between the upper and lower floors, and the building descends into a state of primitive and tribal chaos.  Directed by Ben Wheatley, the sumptuous visual style is reminiscent of the works of Peter Greenaway, along with the absurdities of a Monty Python skit and Cronenberg-levels of violence.

With Jeremy Irons as Anthony Royal, the Architect and Monarch of the tower block and featuring Elisabeth Moss from The West Wing, Mad Men and Top of the Lake, comedian Reese Shearsmith from the brilliant League of Gentlemen and Inside No. 9 and Sienna Guillory, who you may remember as Jill Valentine from Resident Evil: Apocalypse 2004 as some of those quirky neighbors.


my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 book supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.