Director Ben Wheatley, who made a couple of weird films with A Field in England and the brilliant horror-comedy Sightseers, gets even weirder with his latest, an adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s 1975 novel about warfare inside a high-rise building.
Tom Hiddleston is Robert, a doctor who moves into the building to get a new start on life. He has an affair with the beautiful woman downstairs (Sienna Miller), makes himself some new friends, and even gets to know the building’s eccentric architect, Royal (Jeremy Irons).
Things are going relatively well in the complex, save for a couple of control panels and elevators breaking, when an occupant falls to his death. That sets off a chain reaction where the tenants fall into an anarchic state. They rape, they pillage, and they paint their own apartments with no authority to do so.
Wheatley’s movie has echoes of Gilliam and Kubrick, although he has an incredibly unique vision unto himself. Hiddleston is good in the lead, slowly falling into madness. There are times where the film doesn’t make much sense, but it’s always insane and somewhat enjoyable.
Having lived in apartments most of my life, I’d say much of what happens in this complex is fairly accurate.