‘High Life’ Review: Robert Pattinson & Claire Denis’ Sci-Fi Subversion Is Strange, Sublime and Surprisingly Horny

Collider | 4/13/2019 | Haleigh Foutch
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Few storytellers exist between the lines like Claire Denis. The French filmmaker thrives in the grimy, grey areas of the human experience that make such fertile breeding ground for genre cinema, complex characters, and taboo — a subject at the heart of her English-language debut, the subversive sci-fi drama High Life. Set on a spacecraft where former death row inmates volunteer for a suicide mission straight into a black hole, the film slips through time as they fly through space.

The non-linear narrative centers on Monte (Robert Pattinson), who we first meet patching up the side of a space ship, trying to calm the crying baby screaming in the ship below through his intercom. The sole survivor of the original mission, Monte now careens toward the black hole, his inevitable end, with his daughter Willow. From there, High Life unfolds like an elegant, erratic puzzle, slipping through Monte’s memories to reveal the who, what, and how of what brought us here, all while courting the unknowable cosmic expanse waiting at the end of the journey.

Pattinson - Hollywood - Career - Reinventions - Decade

Pattinson pulled off one of Hollywood’s great career reinventions over the last decade, launching off the platform and popularity he built in the Twilight series and using that momentum to pursue riskier material. As a result, he’s one of the most compelling, least vain character actors of his generation. Pattinson continually hunts down projects with filmmakers that inspire him and High Life marks yet another fantastic, challenging performance for the actor, who skulks through the space ship with the knotted physicality of a too-old tree, fits of mental anguish peeking through his stoic, monklike calm. One particular reaction shot near the end of the film demands that Pattinson cover an astounding range of emotions in a single look, and the actor carries it with grace, landing an...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Collider
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