The film adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s classic satire loses the plot, literally.

I have been slogging through one hell of a blogging slump. So I was lucky that a recent family outing to The Incredibles 2 inspired me with its retro-futurist look, a vision of modernity that takes its cues from 1950s sci-fi. It brought to mind another retro-futurist movie I caught up with recently: High-Rise, Ben Wheatley’s 2015 film based on the J.G. Ballard novel of the same name.

Pixar’s animated movie uses a joyful, colourful palette to set the tone for it’s superhero adventure. Meanwhile, High-Rise‘s vision of the future originates from the 1970s, when the book was written. It utilizes the concrete slabs of brutalist architecture to express its themes.

The reason I’m fixating on the look of High-Rise is because there’s not much substance to it. Most of the book’s story elements and pointed commentary on classism and capitalism have been stripped away. It’s left a film that’s a delightful sensory experience, but not much else.