ABC Film Challenge – Catch Up 2019 – H – High Life (2018) Movie Review


Director: Claire Denis

Writer: Claire Denis, Jean-Pol Fargeau (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Andre Benjamin, Mia Goth, Agata Buzek, Lars Eidinger, Claire Tran

Plot: A father and his daughter struggle to survive in deep space where they live in isolation.

Tagline – Oblivion awaits.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sci-Fi That Offers More Questions Than Answers

Story: High Life starts as we follow lone astronaut Monte (Pattinson) who is on his mission with a baby Willow in tow, he completes the routine daily tasks to keep the space flying through deep space. Monte flashes back through his time on board the ship as we learn that he was one a selection of prisoners given this mission to cover their jail time, with Dr Dibs (Binoche) performing experiments on them.

As the truth gets reviled, we get to learn just why Monte is the last crew member and what happened to the previous members of the crew along with where Willow came from including who her mother really is.

Thoughts on High Life

Characters – Monte is alone on a spaceship with a baby, he is doing everything he can to keep his daughter alive, as we learn about his past on the ship and why he was selected. He was a prisoner that was given this chance to escape jail time and learnt how to survive amongst the crew. Dibs the scientist running the experiments of the crew, she is trying to prove or find a way to get humans to reproduce within space, she controls the crew for her every need though, which sees her needing to protect her experiment while going against the morals of her mission. Tcherny and Boyse are two of the other members of the crew that have been selected, they both have motivation for being there, while Boyse doesn’t settle on the levels of the other crew members.

PerformancesRobert Pattinson is the star of the show here, once again proving that he is in fact one of the best actors in the business today. Juliette Binoche shines too, which with this cast and their performances, is filled with wonderfully powerful performances.

StoryThe story here follows a lone astronaut that is trying to raise a baby in space on his one way mission, as he looks back at what happened to the rest of the crew over the years they were travelling through space conducting experiments took its toll on the crew. This is going to be a story that will easily divide the audience, it does show how Monte was able to adapt to his situation and learn how to survive, rather than trying to cut corners or act on his criminal ways like others do. The way this will divide the audience will come from the idea that this is just one mission of what could be many with each having different experiments, which is something we could have seen more from, understand the full ideas behind the missions. There is a lot of the story, which will be left for the audience to work out what has happened, or is happening without needing to spoon feed the answers.

Mystery/Sci-Fi The mystery side of the film is all about why Monte is alone with a baby and just what happened on the mission, which is a space mission which takes the characters through space.

SettingsThe film is set nearly entirely on the spaceship which does show the isolation of the mission, showing the crew must work together more than anything because they have nowhere else to go.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are mostly look towards the darkness of space, there is one black hole sequence that didn’t look as strong as it should have been.

Scene of the Movie – The second ship.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain characters did seem to just vanish.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting sci-fi mystery that will offer up plenty of questions that will let the audience make of what they want from the story being told.

Overall: Interesting Sci-Fi that will make you think.

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