High-Rise is a story of class warfare that whilst thoroughly entertaining, shocking and gory doesn’t quite get the point of the book across.

The novel High-Rise by J.G Ballard is a scathing look at the different societal classes represented within a tower – it is a book filled with dark comedy, bizarre characters and statements about inequality. The adaptation has the former two but sadly misses out on the third.


The story follows various characters that have all moved into a newly built high-rise building that is designed to care for all their needs. However they soon find that the building also plays on their minds, as the residents turn more and more savage in the enclosed space, whilst forgetting about their former lives.


As the forces clash we are given three main views on the mayhem: from the upper-class architect of the building Royal (Jeremy Irons), a lower-class documentary filmmaker Wilder (Luke Evans) and a middle-class man ‘hiding in plain sight’ Dr. Laing (Tom Hiddleston). Events escalate quickly in a dark and shocking fashion as all social etiquette is thrown over the balcony alongside ice-cream and people.

The film is hugely entertaining, looks exquisite, has great performances and holds audience interest well – all of which is good when you consider the novel has almost no plot. It just in my mind doesn’t capture the true essence of the High-Rise in the way that the book does.


In the book the climbing to a higher floor in the tower is of the utmost significance for all of the characters, however in the film this is somewhat missing; the scale of the tower just doesn’t feel as large as it could and at the same time not as claustrophobic. In the book the violence and death also feel as if they’re occurring to warn the reader against the dangers of the future, whereas in the film they just seem to be violent for violence sake.

However despite the flaws in the film it is a good adaptation of a difficult book to fathom, just a shame that it kind of misses the point.