Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ben Wheatley's High Rise


My buddy Scott told me today that my favourite director is making a film of a book by my favourite author. This has got me pretty excited. My favourite director at the moment is Ben Wheatley who is one of the best British directors of his generation. He's made 4 films, 2 of which are utterly brilliant and the other 2 aren't bad. The brilliant ones are Kill List and Sightseers. 
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My favourite author, of course, is JG Ballard who also just happens to be the greatest English novelist since WW2. A surrealist satiric poet often pigeon holed as a science fiction author, Ballard's reputation has only grown since his death five years ago. When you read Graham Greene or Kingsley Amis or Ballard's other contemporaries these days their novels feel like period pieces whereas Ballard somehow is as fresh and exciting as ever. That's a clue that he's the real deal. 
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The great Ballard period was 1972 - 1979 when he produced award winning collections of short stories and a run of novels, all of which became classics: Crash, Concrete Island, High Rise and The Unlimited Dream Company. Ben Wheatley is making a film out of High Rise and if he's allowed a good budget it could be one of the great British films of this decade. A great film like Sightseers or Fish Tank I mean not tourist board rubbish like the Kings Speech. High Rise is the story of a group of people who live in a high rise apartment building that gradually descends into civil war between floors while the inhabitants at least initially continue to commute to their day jobs in the city of London. Its a classic Ballard conceit carried out with all the iron logic you'd expect from a master surrealist with a sense of humour, qualities Wheatley has in abundance too. Please don't let me down Ben.