High Life (2019)

High Life catapults a storage container’s worth of death row inmates into hyperspace and uses them as fertility guinea pigs: what could possibly go wrong?  Claire Denis’ sci-fi experiment takes big swings but when it lands, the passage of time and the dignity of human life is taken into a microcosm of all the worst bits of being alive. Robert Pattinson takes center stage as a father approaching oblivion with his infant daughter Willow, born in this scientific horror show, managing to be equal bits Kubrick and new wave as the history of these cast-offs unfurls with ever more complicated, damaging reluctance to lay back and accept their fate. Juliette Binoche inherits the bleak role as a scientist propped up to take a eugenics experiment for her own final venture into madness. Slow and methodical, the separation between  Pattinson’s paths pre- and post-crew disappearance produces a veiled semblance of humanity from the dregs of interspace travel. The final combination of glimpsing a parallel fate and accepting a terminal velocity for the father-daughter conclusion will haunt me for a while. Enjoy a cerebral voyage into A24’s continuously expanding collection of tremendous genre cinema.


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