Thursday, December 26, 2019

High Life

Movie Name: High Life
Year of Release: 2019
Director: Claire Denis
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Mia Goth, Andre Benjamin, Agata Buzek, Lars Eidinger, Claire Tran, Jessie Ross, Ewan Mitchell, Scarlett Lindsey
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
View Trailer

Synopsis and Review:
Celebrated director Claire Denis, follows her successful and well received "Let the Sunshine In/Un Beau Soleil Intérieur", with a different challenge, and a tilt in direction. "High Life" follows the story of Monte, a young man who is part of a space exploration. The group he's with is comprised of criminals, and they've all been sent to space in order to attempt to extract energy from a black hole. Along for the ride is Dr. Dibs, who is attempting to create a child through artificial insemination, since all sexual activity between prisoners is forbidden. As the relationships between the crew members varies and produces unexpected outcomes, the film moves back and forth between the present, where Monte is taking care of a baby, by the name of Willow, and the events which took place in the past, where Dibs, Boyse, Nansen, and all the crew members met different fates.
Though "High Life" is a space driven venture, the film in itself functions as a reflection on the state of humanity and relationships, as a group of people find themselves isolated, and having to co-exist in a tightly defined and closed off ecosystem. The strain and pressure, produced by Juliette Binoche's character, of wanting to generate life in such a volatile environment, is a catalyst which brings out some grotesque and monstrous behaviors from some team members. It's an interesting illustration of how life unravels within a bubble in the middle of the Universe, with nowhere to hide or go. It's also a film that doesn't really provide much in terms of dimension to who these characters are, which is where it also falters the most. For all its seemingly provocative insights into sexual dynamics, isolation and even, alienation, it's a film that is surprisingly light on character definition. Juliette Binoche manages to create an interesting, enigmatic character, but other than her, everyone else is somewhat of a blank canvas, without much depth to them (they are in essence, sketches). The cinematography from Yorick Le Saux and Tomasz Naumiuk is beautiful, as is the score from Stuart Staples. An interesting film, worth watching.