Ben Wheatley offers first glimpse of his High-Rise

Outside of recent festival screenings, the look of Ben Wheatley’s film of JG Ballard’s High-Rise has been largely kept under wraps. But its first trailer offers a glimpse of the self-contained nightmare world instigated by the building’s chief architect, Anthony Royal

The trailer (below) constructs the setting for Wheatley and scriptwriter Amy Jump’s film version of Ballard’s 1975 novel brilliantly. It offers snatches of the perfect world of the ultra-modern London high rise in which the book’s protagonist Dr Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston, above) resides.

Above and top of post – two of the images featured on the website for Anthony Royal Architects, the firm behind the construction of the high rise in which Wheatley's film is set
Above and top of post – two of the images featured on the website for Anthony Royal Architects, the firm behind the construction of the high rise in which Wheatley’s film is set

As it progresses, the video feels more akin to one of those property company films which aim to tempt prospective tenants with images of luxury and comfort – there’s a gym, a swimming pool and even a school.

But there are glimpses of a rot about to set in: mouldy fruit, a child toppling a model building – and a faulty lift. Even the own-brand range of produce stocked in the high rise’s supermarket looks unsettling. The trailer concludes with an invitation from Anthony Royal Architects to “Join Us” and visit anthonyroyalarchitecture.co.uk.

The art direction and set design look sublime. There are nods to Stanley Kubrick and, as Simon Sellars – creator of the Ballardian website – noted on Twitter, a look of David Cronenberg’s Shivers in there, too.

The final result, however, is bound to be a harrowing vision that is Wheatley’s own – and a particularly British bad dream.

High-Rise will be released in March 2016.

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