Recently I was watching Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley’s adaptation of the J.G. Ballard novel High-Rise.
Adapting Ballard novels for the screen is always a challenging proposition. Even the great David Cronenberg had problems with his notorious 1996 adaptation of the Ballard novel Crash .
Now director Ben Wheatley and his co-conspirator Jump have tried their hand. U.K. film-maker Wheatley does have a gift for highly visual (and often disturbing) imagery but despite that and committed performances by a British A-List cast that includes Jeremy Irons, Tom Hiddleston and Sienna Miller, Aussie import Luke Evans and America’s Elizabeth Moss it was hard to tell what was driving the alleged plot.
I guess one of the things Mr. Wheatley was aiming for was a broad satire on class distinctions (the idle rich live in sumptuous spreads at the top of the building and the struggling lower classes live in the lower part of the building and understandably want to move up) but that whole thing was done better (and more coherently) in South Korean film-maker Joon Ho Bong’s Snowpiercer.
To paraphrase Will Shakespeare (or whoever wrote Macbeth) “Tis a tale written by an auteur, full of sound and fury, signifying something.”