Just this week, I had the opportunity to watch Ben Wheatley’s “High Rise” on Netflix, a film adaption of the novel by J.G. Ballard. Having never read the book, I didn’t know what to expect. Halfway into the film, I find myself captivated, not by the character’s themselves, but by the amazing soundtrack.
Tom Hiddleston and Luke Evans perform remarkably as their respective roles of “Dr. Robert Lang” and “Richard Wilder;” and Sienna Miller plays a beautiful “Charlotte Melville,” but while these actors help to bring this film to life through their talent and skill, the music used throughout the film is what really draws you in and stirs both your mind and your emotions.
There’s a specific point in the movie, when those seen as the “elite” mingle at an 18th-century themed party. Highlighted at the beginning and continuing to play as the scene unfolds is an instrumental version of ABBA’s “SOS”. At first, the tune catches my attention because of its appealing melody, but then I realize I know this song and not just the song, the original artists too.
At the peak of the chaotic downfall of the social structure in the movie, “SOS” is heard again, this time performed by a band that hasn’t released a song in over six years; and I must say this is quite the comeback! The British alternative band, Portishead, puts an incredible dark twist on this iconic ABBA pop hit that just enhances the great cinematic qualities of the movie.
Vocalist, Beth Gibbons, accompanied by a synthesized beat, paints a darker and much sadder mental image with her soft yet moving voice, quite the opposite of the original version.
This song engrained itself in my mind, lingering in my thoughts with its tragically beautiful sound. Those who appeal to the darker side of things might revel in this cover because of how the simple melody emphasizes the heaviness of the vocals, similar to Lana Del Rey's version of "Once Upon A Dream." Such an alluring piece of music should not go unnoticed!
Even though you can’t purchase the song on iTunes or find it on Spotify, you can watch the music video on YouTube, or hear it on the movie’s official soundtrack, and find yourself lost in a stormy fantasy world of haunting sirens and a heavy bass that will leave a pleasant shiver in your bones.