High Life

A set of heady ideas leavened against a serum-like serious tone, I’m not sure the film earns its right to make so little of its interesting imagery and fleetingly compelling characterizations. Its formal discontinuities can be a marvel if you can be made to appreciate the ways both meta and minor in which its content is dismembered. Its fascinating metaphysics is muddled by its ethics. Its exploration of taboo/violent/sexual madness–its humanity–becomes less impactful alongside its flattened science fiction. I’d much rather spend time with Robert Pattinson again inside a cosmopolitan limo than in this dry–but so wet–cosmos opera. Even if we eschew traditional movie watching modes of comprehension and evaluation, as one needs to with a Claire Denis film, High Life leaves you with a beauty that is cold, distant, sans eros, which is fine if it weren’t also ridden with negating concepts that spawn self-negation. I don’t object to nihilism on principle, I don’t need for the sunshine to be let in, nor do I want Gattaca‘s call to the stars, but the disconnects along the way in this undertaking efface the serenity of detachment that Denis seems to want to leave us with.