Sunday, 18 June 2017


Written by JG Ballard, released in 1975. High Rise is an fictional insight it to the function and decay of a society crammed in to the concrete four walls of a forty-story new tower block development. Where shops swimming pools, restaurants and even schools sit within this new age visionary of luxury living of the Late 1960s- early 1970s.
Where the residents enjoy night after night of cocktail parties and orgies, fuelled with drink, drugs, hormones and lust. Until their high life, life style begins to crumble around then. 
As power cuts, and water outages run though out the building. as the rubbish shouts fill and waist becomes uncollected and the food in the supermarkets and restaurants begins to run low the residents divided by floors turn on each other, conducting raids for food and water, even animals, fighting for space, survival and power. 

( Image No. 1 My copy of the book and DVD )
I started reading this book when the film by Ben Wheatley was released in cinemas (in 2016), for the first time in a while i was hocked on the book from the first page. ( a lot of the time it takes 3 or 4 pages before I get in-grossed)Which meant by the time the DVD came out I had not finished the book and the film had to sit on the shelf until I finished the book.

( Image No. 2 First page of the book. )
The book follows doctor and medical school lecturer Robert Laing (played by Tom Hiddelston), whom has moved in to an apartment on the 25th floor of the high rise complex on the out skirts of London after his divorce on the recommendation of his sister who already lives in the building with her husband three floors bellow him. when the environment around them beings to descend in to madness he then takes his sister who has been left by her controlling husband, and another women in to his apartment to care for, and protect - him becoming more of the alpha male. 
In the film Alice his sister is dead along with is parents, creating a loner character, self obsessed dry man with baggage, Ready to let off some steam, with drink, drugs and sex.

Helen Wilder
“Well, Charlotte's right about one thing.
You are definitely the best amenity in the building.” 

As the power outages begin, sprits rise, and parties in full swing women from find them self attacked and some raped and on of the top floor resents jumps.
In the book it is the Jeweller from the 40th floor. In the film it is one of Laing’s students, Munrow, from the 39th floor. Who was sent for scans after passing out in a class. After he and others insult Laing at one of Royal’s parties, he tells Munrow that they found some thing during the scan, when all was good. Its an attack fuelled by the building. Yet no police arrive to investigate the incident, you can only asume that the body was taken away by a coroner and was not the first to end up in the 10th floor swimming pool.

Dr. Robert Laing: [voice over] 
"One thing was certain, Laing would surrender to a logic more powerful than reason."

You quickly start to see a divide in buildings residents social standing, with families, the working class occupying the lower floors,
The 10th floor homes of a supermarket, bank hair dresses, swimming pool, gum, liquor store,  and a junior school, which represents the first divide in building residents of working class and middle class in the middle of the building. (In the film this is moved up to the 15th floor. squash courts on the 20th) 
The 35th floor again has a swimming pool, sauna, and restaurants this is the divide between the middle and aspiring middle class -between 10th and 35th, and the elite on the floors above. The penthouse on the 40th floor of this world, Anthony Royal. (played by Jeremy Irons) The building's architect, the over seer of the building  and the surrounding complex’s ( and refereed to by others as the ‘architect’) 

Helen Wilder
“Don't worry, people don't usually care what 
happens two floors above or below them. “

The film directed by Ben Wheatley is a beautiful adapted from the novel, capturing the life with in the building.
The book its self could easily have been made in to a two part TV film, to include other other events, but doing this it would have lost its self in its own chaos.
In the book on the 40th floor there is a sculpture garden. designed by Royal as a playground for the chidden. it almost sounds like a sensory garden. This I was looking forward to see, but in the film the garden is Royals where his wife rides her horse. I was little disappointed not to she this, But having it as it is in the film shows how the higher floors see them selfs, better then the lower residence, living with these luxuries.

Concept art, on display At the Barbican Centre. Exhibition: In To The Unknown, A Journey Through Science Fiction.
( Visited on 16th June 2017. )
The film posters and DVD cover echo the architecture of the building and a kaleidoscope design. A kaleidoscope which one of the children,Toby has. As well as the effext is reflected in the elevator scenes.

Laing: What have you got there?
Toby: A kaleidoscope.
Laing: What can you see through that thing?
Toby: The future.

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noun: kaleidoscope; plural noun: kaleidoscopes
A toy consisting of a tube containing mirrors and pieces of coloured glass or paper, whose reflections produce changing patterns when the tube is rotated.
A constantly changing pattern or sequence of elements.
"the dancers moved in a kaleidoscope of colour”
        early 19th century: from Greek kalos ‘beautiful’ + eidos ‘form’ + -scope.

Chaotic shapes and colour that create beautiful forms. 
It is the event that take place with in this community that create some thing more wonderful then what they already had. Residence stopped going to work and concentrated on their dysfunctional life's in the high rise.

Dr. Robert Laing: [voice over] 
"For all it’s inconveniences, Laing was satisfied with life in the High-Rise. 
Ready to move forward and explore life. How exactly, he had not yet decided."

A kaleidoscope camrea effect is used near the end of the film where Wilder is killed, the event is watch by Toby through his toy. Creating beauty out of chaos and anger.

A human trait, looking for the good and beauty in life and people, searching for some thing better. When sometimes we look to hard and do not see what we have in front of us is what want and or need, missing the beauty in these moments.

( Above 3 Images Are Stills From The Film On You Tube )
( Screen Short From Nick Gillespie's Twitter. )
The Camera Rig Used To Create The Kaleidoscope Effect.
The 1975 novel was first published when the Barbican Estate towers were being built in London (towers completed 1973, 1974 and 1976). Designed in the late 1950s by young architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, spent 10 years in construction until its grand opening in 1982. And was granted Granted Grade II listing in September 2001.
There is a strong influence of these there buildings in the book. A land scape that was not yet completed with its sister high rise’s still under development. These buildings can be seen in the film and its posters. 

Concept art on display At the Barbican Centre. Exhibition: In To The Unknown, A Journey Through Science Fiction.
( Visited on 16th June 2017 )
( Image From )
The towers are (east to west):
Cromwell Tower, (completed in 1973 – named after Oliver Cromwell). Shakespeare Tower,(completed in 1976 – named after William Shakespeare)  and Lauderdale Tower, (completed in 1974 – named after the Earl of Lauderdale)
At 42 storeys and 123 metres (404 ft) high. The top two or three floors of each block comprise three penthouse flats.
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The Barbican Estate also contains the Barbican Centre (an arts, drama and business venue), the Barbican public library, the City of London School for Girls, the Museum of London, barbican conservatory and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. The similarities are there but the fiction has never became reality.

Dr. Robert Laing: [voice over] "Ever wanted something more? Ever thought there could be a better way to live free from the shackles of the old, tired world? This development is the culmination of a lifetimes work by esteemed architect, Anthony Royal. The High-Rise has forty floors of luxury apartments filled with every modern convince. Onsite we have a fully stocked super-market, gym facilities, swimming pool, spa, school. There is almost no reason to leave. People from all walks of life are here too. There are many opportunities to make new friends, possibly fall in love. So why not join us? Joins us at the High-Rise."

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