Dr. Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager) feels like he’s made it - he’s moved into a luxury high-rise, seeking soulless anonymity. However, the building’s residents have no intention of leaving him alone and it isn’t long before the veneer of civilisation begins to collapse, and darker human urges begin to surface, and Laing’s good manners and sanity disintegrate along with the building. From acclaimed director Ben Wheatley (Kill List, Sightseers), and based on the classic novel by J.G. Ballard, comes a unique and dazzling vision of a dystopian Britain on the brink of social meltdown.
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This film is bound to become a classic of sorts. The sort of classic that El Topo is today. As far as films go, there will undoubtedly be an audience for the sort of off-beat film that it is. However, in as far as contemporary film-making and cinema practice is concerned, it fails to climb above the ordinary. However, there is one aspect of the film that viewers may find enlightening. But to find this edge, one has to look a little beyond the edges of the screen and ask a "behind the action" questoin of why such a film is being made at this time. Surely the fact that JG Ballard's book might be today regarded as a classic in its own right, and of its genre, the film really fails to enliven the dystopian visions of the book to give them any new horizons that might be said to connect with contemporary reality. Unless you take Brexit as the queue. Now the film takes an entirely new perspective, as a vision of the UK willingly shutting the doors on its neighbours and all in side the Royal Britannia agreeing to form their own slightly odd community. If one dares to ask the question of why such a film was made, one answer that crops to mind, particularly in view of the Brexit referendum, is that perhaps the timely making of this film at this present juncture because its producers had some prescience of the turn in on yourself and eat your neighbours view of the world that must somehow be appealing to those who think that returning to yesteryear is going to somehow provide an answer to the problems of engaging meaningfully with the nearby world. Only now does the film become interesting as a record of a particular vision of the world, and the response of closing the doors and "taking control" of all that lies within the boundaries of this quant, but insane, asylum. What this film finally provides is thus a vision of what a locked up community might look like in the not distant future from when it chose to close the doors.
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