One of the more eclectic British authors of the 20th Century was J.G. Ballard. He wrote the novel that became the Steven Spielberg coming-of-age, kid-in-POW-camp-in-China movie Empire of the Sun and the novel that became the David Cronenberg people-have-disgusting-car-wreck-fetishes movie Crash. So he’s got a lot of different stuff going on. Now, his novel High Rise has been made into a film, called High-Rise, by director Ben Wheatley and starring Tom Hiddleston, and from the above teaser, it looks like a ’70s sci-fi parable if I ever did see one.
Acting a bit like a promotional video, the teaser has Hiddleston’s Dr. Robert Laing cheerily asking if we’ve ever wanted more, and that the new massive high-rise apartments will give us that. There are full grocery stores, tennis courts, gym facilities, swimming pools, spas, schools for kids… in fact, he says, “there is almost no reason to leave.” Oh boy, that really fills us with comfort.
Wheatley and his partner, screenwriter Amy Jump, have kept the 1975 novel’s time frame, making it an anachronistic throwback to films like Soylent Green with its focus on overpopulation. Nothing was a utopia back then, especially if it involved people in a closed-off building where the rich live on the highest floors and the poorest live on the bottom — it’s a vertical version of Snowpiercer.
High-Rise has already played several festivals this year, but its wide release won’t happen until spring of 2016. Personally, I’m a huge fan of Wheatley’s other films, including Kill List, Sightseers, and A Field in England, as well as his direction on the Doctor Who episodes “Deep Breath” and “Into the Dalek,” so it will be great to see what he can do with a larger budget and a larger filmic landscape, even one that’s more claustrophobic than ever.
Let us know what you think of the High-Rise trailer in the comments below!
Image: Studio Canal
Kyle Anderson is the Weekend Editor and a film and TV critic for Nerdist.com. Follow him on Twitter!