Imagine you just spent billions of dollars to build a space ship that would go 97% the speed of light. Who would you choose to be your crew on this critical mission? The folks in High Life picked criminals and death-row inmates as their crew. What could go wrong?

In the first hour of High Life there are fights, a rape, murders, and suicide. Director Claire Denis stumbles in this science fiction movie. The space ship looks like a shoe box. The rooms look like they are borrowed from a minimum security prison. Everyone is climbing ladders (this is not a design for those with physical impairments). The “hero” is Monte (played by Robert Pattinson) who killed someone over a dog. Monte is shown raising a baby in a series of flashbacks. The crew is being monitored by Dr. Dibs (Juliette Binoche) and manipulated. And, of course, there’s the obligatory Black Hole.

I found the pace of High Life glacial. The plot seemed pointless to me. Claire Denis should have stayed in the realm of her great movie, Beau Travail (1999) instead of tackling a genre where she ends up lost in space. GRADE: C

10 thoughts on “HIGH LIFE

  1. Michael Padgett

    George, you make this sound pretty bad, but Claire Denis gets the benefit of the doubt so I’ll see this when it hits DVD. I wouldn’t have expected her to make a movie to appeal to the Star Trek or Star Wars crowd, so it’s not at all surprising (or disappointing) that she didn’t.

  2. Jeff Meyerson

    Sounds like a poor version of Bill Crider’s favorite, CON AIR. Lose Pattinson and bring in Nicolas Cage and it wouldn’t be dull!

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, Nicholas Cage jazzes up any movie he’s in. But, Cage would be hard pressed to inject some energy into HIGH LIFE. Dull, dull, dull.

  3. wolf

    The story sounds interesting – off the beaten path, but if you didn’t enjoy it we probably also wouldn’t. 🙂
    I wrote about this before:
    Most Science Fiction films weren’t “good enough” for us, too kitschy, just action, not enough of a story …
    So we’re waiting for my wife’s son to come over from Budapest with some gems on a storage card (it’s supposed to be a surprise) – of course my wife is waiting for the last season of GOT.
    Interestingly enough these blockbuster things are nowadays quickly translated into all European languages.
    If it isn’t she’ll have at least Hungarian subtitles …

    1. george Post author

      Wolf, you and your wife might be interested in the social experiments in HIGH LIFE. Americans prefer action in their SF movies and TV shows.

      1. wolf

        Today I read a rather positive review of this in our German magazine SPIEGEL (comparable to Newsweek etc) – film of the week.
        But it’ll probably take a while until this is available in Hungarian.

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