Novelist J.G. Ballard's worlds were often visceral and dystopian in a heavily symbolic, sometimes absurd manner (such as in Crash). In order to adapt these worlds successfully to the screen, one will have to tread carefully with a clear direction and sense of purpose in mind. If not, any film will easily slip into a pulp of abrasive scenes and faltering logic – especially from a human and interpersonal point of view. This is exactly the trap director Ben Wheatley falls into with High-Rise, adapted from Ballard's 1975 novel of the same name. After a splendid intro, in which the wonderful set design takes us effectively back to the cars, hairstyles, clothes and interior designs of the 1970s, Wheatley loses command over the interplay between story and message. Watching the chaotic mess of scenes which ensue, where the characters act in a zombie-like manner, the film's implicit social criticism – an ostensible attack on consumerism and modern living combined with a manifesto for communism (not socialism, cause that would be too light) – doesn't reveal itself in a subtle manner which would have made you feel clever about discovering it; it gnaws on you like a rabid dog until you'd hate all dogs forever. High-Rise ultimately shows no regard for its characters or viewers. And the comedy, which is the last bit of virtue the film could have clung on to, is humourless and acerbic.