J.G. Ballard, whose 1975 British novel High-Rise has been adapted into a film opening this month in the United States, could be described as one of the preeminent twentieth-century writers of “weird fiction” – a term spawned by H. P. Lovecraft to describe his own work and the work of other writers he liked. They are tales, as David Tompkins has written, “not necessarily supernatural in intent but ones that aim to create a sense of dread, awe, terror, and the like.” Perfect fodder for film, in other words, especially in an era in which apocalyptic cinema is the name of the game in multiplexes and arthouses alike.
As point of fact, in many ways “High-Rise” is a better film than it is a book, which is not a statement I have many occasions to deliver. It stars Tom Hiddleston as Robert Laing, a recently divorced doctor who moves into a vast luxury condo tower and immediately succumbs to its Bacchanalian glamour. Continue Reading →