High Life


This may be the most egregious example of a bait-and-switch film that I’ve ever had the displeasure of viewing. Both the description on IMDB and on Letterboxd indicate that this is a film wherein Monte (Robert Pattinson) and his daughter struggle to survive as the last survivors in a failed mission in space.

That is only true in the most vague sense of the word. High Life began true to its promise, but quickly deviated into some of the strangest and most random nonsense I’ve seen in a while. Weird reproduction experiments in space? And I use the term “in space” loosely, because this entire film may as well have taken place here on Earth.

Regardless of the hidden premise, High Life manages to be simultaneously grotesque and utterly boring. There is a disturbing amount of sexual violence to be found here. I don’t know if Claire Denis was going for some message, but whatever it potentially was never came across. This film is simply disgusting, confusing, and dull.

If I have to mention something that I didn’t absolutely abhor, I suppose the cinematography wasn’t bad. I’m a sucker for lingering shots and artistic style. That’s about it, however. For a two hour film, there isn’t much meaningful dialogue and what exists is often delivered in stilted conversation.

The non-linear timeline was alright, but I can’t help feeling that it was only utilized as to try and convince the audience that High Life isn’t such a tedious dumpster fire.

In retrospect, perhaps the title High Life holds the key. I can only assume, then, that this film would make more sense if viewed under the influence of some hallucinogenic substance.

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