Tag Archives: Ben Wheatley

Klokkenluider (Neil Maskell, 2022)

When a familiar actor switches to directing, there is the temptation to look for parallels with the films of directors they’ve worked with, particularly when there have been numerous collaborations. With British character actor favourite Neil Maskell, his debut feature as writer and director actively invites comparisons to Ben Wheatley’s early work to a small extent, given that Wheatley has an executive producer credit (Maskell is perhaps best known for his breakthrough lead role in Wheatley’s hitman horror Kill List).

But while Klokkenluider features a similar tension to Wheatley’s films in its combination of bleak comedy, deceptively mundane settings and the potential for kneejerk violence, Maskell’s speedy film displays a distinctive, eccentric voice of its own, even while bearing clear DNA from the likes of Harold Pinter plays and conspiracy thriller classics. Were it not for the occasional detours to other locales, it would near enough be a chamber piece, and it’s easy to imagine this material being transferred to the stage with some success, but a stagey feel is avoided through clever editing and blocking tricks…

Full review for Little White Lies

Ben Wheatley on pandemic-shot horror ‘In the Earth’

“We were the first people back and – whether it’s true or not – we really felt like the eyes of production were on us across the board.”

Writer-director Ben Wheatley is speaking to The Skinny over Zoom about In the Earth, the horror feature he wrote during the first few weeks of the COVID pandemic and shot with a small crew over 15 days in the early summer, as the UK came out of its initial lockdown period.

While Hollywood blockbusters with hired studio spaces – such as Jurassic World: Dominion – were able to resume shooting in the UK last summer after they had to hit pause, In the Earth was among the very first low budget productions to get going in late June 2020. And being first off the blocks had its pressures…

Full interview for The Skinny

Sharlto Copley and Ben Wheatley on ‘Free Fire’

“WAS IT LOUD?! If the volume’s up it can be a little intense.” South African actor Sharlto Copley is responding to the news that The Skinny has come to interview him pretty much straight from a press screening of his new film Free Fire, a 1970s Boston-set action movie from British director Ben Wheatley, the other interviewee present. “After one screening,” Copley continues, “I was, like, OK, I lived through it once. I could have sat a little further away from the speaker…

Full interview for The Skinny

Free Fire (Ben Wheatley, 2016)

Jean-Luc Godard once said that all you need to make a movie is a gun and a girl. What he may have meant is that all you need to make a movie are several guns, a girl, and nine largely incompetent guys. And that, for all intents and purposes, is Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire

Full review for The Skinny

High-Rise (Ben Wheatley, 2015)

It’s the near future, though it (deliberately) seems to be the near future as imagined in the 1970s. Dr Robert Laing (Hiddleston) has set up home in a lavish high-rise designed by a grand architect (Irons). Presiding on the 25th floor, he develops trysts with the higher classes and friendships with those relegated below, including a documentarian (Evans) keen to provoke the dangerous social situation between levels. Violence and disarray are but a ticking time bomb away…

Full review for The Skinny

Ben Wheatley on ‘High-Rise’

The Skinny’s chatting to director Ben Wheatley on the phone on the evening of the Glasgow Film Festival programme launch, with the Scottish premiere of his new film being among the screenings publicly announced as we speak. High-Rise, his fifth feature, is an adaptation of JG Ballard’s beloved 1975 novel. It’s a dystopic tale of alienation, corruption and societal breakdown within the confines of a lavish apartment complex that starts off sleek and appealing, only to gradually transform into the kind of tower block that wouldn’t seem out of place in the world of Judge Dredd. Tom Hiddleston and Jeremy Irons, as grand architect Royal, topline an impressive cast for the British director’s first foray into bigger budget filmmaking.

“What it gives you as a filmmaker is much more control,” Wheatley says of the scale change. “You can have much more control on very basic stuff like the colours of the rooms, how costumes relate to spaces, and how spaces relate to the overall design of the whole film. I think it’s a big difference…

Full interview for The Skinny