Director : James Nunn and Robbie Thompson.
Starring: Sheridan Smith, Jack O’Connell, Russell Tovey, Ralph Brown. UK. 1h 30m
A broody claustrophobic thriller set within the confines of the average manky london unglamourous highrise. A young injured man runs frantically about the gotty corridors of a urban tower block banging on doors trying to get help but is beaten to death on the doorsteps of the tenants, the sullen faces of the neighbours faces into regret that they did nothing to help him but that’s life in the big city. The police investigate and are disgusted that at the apathy, that no one lifted a finger to help.
A year later Becky (Sheridan Smith) goes out on a date, the morning after her potential new boyfriend has his brains blown over the breakfast table and a montage massacre ensues throughout the building. Eventually things simmer down and the remaining residents collate and assess the situation in the corridors and safe places within their flats. A sniper has pinned them down and there is no help coming, any movement by certain windows will ensure a quick and precise death.
The dark seedy nature of the inner cir high rise has fascinated writers and directors for decades now, they seem to really draw out the creepy aspects, and are highly ascuentaded here, long looming corridors, and rough lighting characterize this violent thriller. James Nunn and Robbie Thompson use lots of interesting angles and crane shots to dwarf the inhabitants in this mega structure.
Twelve tenants, One Sniper. No Escape.
Tensions run high and violence between the neighbours follows, until they eventually start to band together to fight this invisible tor. Jack O’Connell plays a heavy handed rude chav (his usual role) running a protection racket within the block and fights for control against Becky who is my clamer and forward thinking, but the interesting dynamics between makes for a great team.
It’s an interesting concept, not fully formed but it’s paced well and the gritty friction between neighbours is prevalent throughout, “Wot are you looking at and no one tells me how to raise my kids” spits a random pink velour tracksuited neighbour.
A plan is eventually hatched to escape as fighting isn’t an option. There are some scenes of bravery but there are no crazy McGuyer antics going on here and it’s a credit to this urban nightmare as it’s kept quite real and in the small dank surroundings it makes things more gut wrenching (especially if you live in a similar environment).
It’s not as dynamic as it could have been, ultimately it’s an intelligent thriller with a decent portion of gore, but that isn’t the essence of the film, the narrative here is focused on morals and attitudes and doing what’s right and just how passive urban dwellers/modern man has become. Everyone is willing to turn a blind eye but what if there were consequences, and eye for an eye?
R – Shifty (2008), High Rise (2016), La Horde (2009), Attack the Block (2011), Harry Brown (2009)
L – High Rise Films, Selected UK Films, Urban Nightmares, Sniper Flicks,
A – The obsession with the Sentinel
5S – Sheridan Smith, Jack O’Connell, Russell Tovey