High Life (2019)
Coming from the pairing of A24 and Claire Denis on paper High Life seemed like it would be one of the weirdest and most interesting films of the year which was backed by a bizarre and noticeably sexual marketing campaign. I know this interesting hype for the movie made it stand out to me and when it finally released in theaters I went opening weekend to see just what this film was going to end up being. And where I can't say for me personally this was a classic or one of the best films of the year it sure was weird!
Easily the best part of this film is the world and setting that it takes place in. As we explore this weird environment of this spaceship that has a strange focus on sex and sexual desires it is really offsetting in the best of ways. It is so effective at putting the audience on edge as we explore and experience this world. It also helps that technically this film is so solid. Despite being a smaller film when it comes to the size of production the visual effects and production design is smart and of such high quality. It is so easy to leave the theater or location where you are watching this movie and be transported into this spaceship and these different environments due to how good and natural this movie looks. The acting is also fantastic, if you have been following his indie career it comes as no shock that Robert Pattinson is great as our main lead. He is so smart when it comes to falling into his character and is able to masterfully portray it to the audience. He doesn't need big moments to make you feel his presence, his performance is so well crafted that he can use smaller moments like small glances and a stumble on words to give his character life which is really impressive. People like Juliette Binoche and Mia Goth are also really solid but never quite reach the level that Rober Pattinson is at. One of the troubles the acting in this movie has is how weird the space they are in is. They can't just be normal considering the environment they are in is so weird and this easily could have led to some misunderstanding or missteps when it comes to the performances so the fact that there is none of this impressive on its own whether you want to give the majority credit to the actors or Claire Denis as the director.
Though that isn't to say that this film is perfect, I found especially that the story in this movie lacked quite a bit for me. This film builds this great environment and has great actors playing in this environment yet it lacks any real voice. This movie feels like it should have a strong message or narrative yet never really builds one. Part of this is because they try to have some huge ideas that they never can really explore fully so they are left unresolved and unexplored. Though even with our main characters I never felt that engaged or intrigued by this story, it feels like it is always on the edge of getting to something really interesting and worthwhile but they never actually embrace any of these elements. It's very loose in its narrative and story and I never felt like this film got going which not only made me bored but also disappointed. This movie could have been something incredible but they never went anywhere with these performances and environments. I'm sure that on multiple viewings you could find interesting ideas in this movie but it leaves me no reason to want to explore the narrative further and I doubt any would come together to create a strong man theme or narrative of the story. This lacks a much-needed climax to make this sexual weird space journey worth the journey.