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TIFF 2018 Review: “High Life” (2018) ★★★★


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Claire Denis is one of the most intelligent and visually unique female directors of her generation. All her movies carry the necessary amount of everything – be it about love, horror, crime or even about teenage awakening. But with her latest, and in fact long-awaited English-language movie, she goes far beyond what big studios could offer, leaving all stereotypes and clichés aside, exploring her version of space and its black hole.

Supported by an impressive cast, it follows a group of criminals who instead of prison was sent into space to explore a black hole. Monte (Robert Pattinson) and his fellows, who are extremely dangerous prisoners, are the only hopes of this mission to reach the black hole that’s closest to the Earth. When the movie begins, we find Monte talking with a little child. We do not know yet how this infant appeared on the ship, but we assume that the child must be his.

Of course the entire mission will be filled with an expected chaos that won’t be so easily resolved. However, although this is a slow paced space drama, Denis’ movie stands out with its own signature. Indeed it is intelligent and very charismatic but still does not have the level of excitement that makes it attractive to a wide audience. But that might not have been Denis’ goal and righfully too, as dramas like this will be able to satisfy ten attentive and caring viewers compared to a thousand who expect Avengers type of blockbuster.

It was interesting to see the Pattinson-Denis-Binoche collaboration. Pattinson manages to handle some physically and even mentally challenging scenes while his Monte does what we expect from his nothing-to-lose personality. Overall, “High Life” is a highly intelligent movie that creates its own space and zone only specific viewers are allowed to enter. And if you think you’re the right one, you’ll be welcome on board, but avoid any black holes as much as possible.

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