With echoes not just of Crash (Cronenberg’s J G Ballard adaptation), but of Videodrome, Dead Ringers and of course high-rise horror, Shivers (Cronenberg, 1975), the retro-futurism of High-Rise speaks to the state of contemporary Britain, offering a scathing critique of the consequences of Thatcherism, as well as an homage to Cronenberg as much as Ballard. Very far from the documentary approach of both Full Bins, Empty Bellies, Lonely Lives (see below) and Sleaford Mods: Invisible Britain, High-Rise (Ben Wheatley, 2015) nonetheless features a documentary filmmaker as a central character – albeit one who has, his wife Helen Wilder (Elisabeth Moss) opines, lost his focus when it comes to filmmaking.

Unfortunately, like its filmmaker character, High-Rise loses its focus. I’m all for experimental, non-linear narrative films, but after a powerful, tightly-constructed first 40 minutes or so, this film loses its way. Its reveling in the orgies of the upper classes and disintegration of social order into track-suited, violent confusion is often stylistically impressive, but it becomes harder and harder to see what matters, too much of the time.

Despite this latter lack of coherence, High-Rise strikes some significant chords, has some glorious moments, is stylistically impressive, and contains a number of excellent performances. Not least by Tom Hiddleston, who plays Dr Laing, our neurologist, if ultimately dog-roasting, hero. Another shining star is the soundtrack. Clint Mansell’s music is superb, often working inordinately well to complement or emphasise the layers of meaning in the film’s mise-en-scène, while the inclusion of a Portishead cover of Abba’s ‘SOS’ is appropriately atmospheric. That said, a cover of ‘Waterloo’ might have been more appropriate.

It’s also mildly disappointing not to hear anyone say, ‘Let them eat cake’, especially given the appearance of Bo Peep and her sheep, and the costumes at a party from which Laing is ejected. Notably, when sharing a few words with the waiter at that party, Laing is told how hard it is to “row against the current” – an image that resonates with his unusual social mobility as he roams between floors, friends with both Wilder and Royal (Jeremy Irons’ architect of the high-rise), and his self-contained ability to survive the violence of class war. It’s also an image repeated again and again, when we see Laing using the rowing machine irrespective of whether he’s surrounded by order or by chaos.

There’s plenty more to say about this film, including its echoes of Godard, Kubrick and Buñuel’s Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, and its inclusion of non-human animal characters, speaking to what our treatment of them says about society. But perhaps the most important thing to say is, watch it for yourself.

While documentary film Full Bins, Empty Bellies, Lonely Lives: The Story of Food Poverty and Social Isolation in a Land of Plenty (Daniel Vallin, 2015) is in many ways a million miles away from High-Rise, similar themes preoccupy both films. Full Bins focuses on three alarming aspects of the realities of life in the UK today. Millions live in food insecurity, but millions of tonnes of food are wasted every year, and at the same time another type of poverty is the experience of many – loneliness.

Full Bins considers the causes of this contradictory way of life in 21st century Britain and asks how we might join the dots to solve all three problems. Offering its viewers sumptuous local footage alongside pertinent factual research, it weaves in interviews with Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, Waste author Tristram Stuart and other participants. Focusing on the Super Kitchen social eating model now successfully implemented in Nottinghamshire, the film is clearly inspired by organisations such as Feeding the Five Thousand and Fareshare.

Samantha Holland, with thanks to Daniel Vallin