Please note: This page and and the downloadable discussion materials contain spoilers for High Rise.

Adaptations: High Rise

Posted on: 05 Apr 2016 by Claire Vaughan

Our Adaptations discussion group meets to discuss the latest films, chaired by our Programme Officer for Film and Cinema, Claire Vaughan. In April we look at High Rise, Ben Wheatley's savage adaptation of JG Ballard's novel.

Here you can read the supporting materials.

Discussion points

  • The filmmakers have used the device of an audible narration in the film, this does not always work in film, do you think it works in this instance? Is Laing a reliable narrator?
  • The story when first published was science fiction, why do you think it resonated so much with the filmmakers today?
  • Director Ben Wheatley decided to make the character of Richard Wilder Welsh and although it is not specified in the novel, the actor Luke Evans had prepared a cockney accent. What difference do you think it makes with this choice?
  • What significance should we place on the characters’ names in High Rise, particularly the character Robert Laing and Royal?
  • Chris Hall stated in the Inner Space discussion at the British Library that “in Ballardian space characters become the building they inhabit” and Ballard himself said “architecture is a stage set” how would you agree that this is the case with High Rise?
  • “Whilst the 20th century was mediated through the car, the 21st century will be mediated through the home… in 100 years people will be so immersed in their own private worlds that social contact will be absent… {leading} to a world with no human emotions or values.” How  does this statement by Ballard impact your reading of the film?

Read the supporting materials on the PDF in the downloads section on the right of this page or by following these links:

Why JG Ballard’s High-Rise takes dystopian science fiction to a new level

Nearly normal: JG Ballard's High-Rise and the 'uncanny valley' 

Would JG Ballard have liked the film version of High-Rise?



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