High Life – A Swing and a Miss

A24 is just one of those companies. They are one of those companies that do many things that have been done before, but their marketing and branding is just groundbreaking. I’ve always referred to them as the Supreme of Hollywood. It’s not like other studios haven’t made great indie movies before. Off the top of my head I can think of Fox Searchlight and Annapurna. The only difference is that A24 presents itself as a brand, and not just a production company. They have managed to get people excited when you hear their name in regards to their films and their quality. They even sell shirts. SHIRTS!

It’s hard for people to not be excited about this brand, though. Since their inception, their films have always made the top lists of critics for the best films of the year. I mean, here are just a few of the films they’ve done: Lady BirdRoomMoonlightEx MachinaFirst Reformed and many, many, many, many more. However, sometimes people forget they don’t always have home runs. You guys remember Barely LethalEquals? Chance the Rapper’s Slice? Exactly. So although they have a great resume, sometimes they can put films I just don’t like. That’s exactly what High Life is.

There are a lot of things to admire about this film. For one, Robert Pattinson proves yet again that he’s one of the best actors working in Hollywood. It’s hard to believe where he got his big break compared to where he’s at now. His range is truly incredible, and in many ways, he’s the heart of this film. Another great aspect of this film is the cinematography. This film takes full advantage visually of its setting, and with a creative director such as Claire Denis, it isn’t suprising this film is as beautiful as it is. Also, the runtime is perfect for this film. 

There were many more things I admired about this film, but a big problem I had with this film was just that I never connected with any of the characters. The closest I got to caring about someone in the film was Robert Pattinson‘s character, but even that was difficult because the film shifts its focus to other characters, which I cared for even less. Another big problem I had with this film is its themes and main message. I think I understand the film is about the human condition, but where the film faulters is that it doesn’t make me care about its message.

High Life is a film I admire more than I like. I love watching films that are unique and give me an experience that I don’t normally get. There’s a scene with a dildo in this film that I simply will never forget. And I loved that about it. However, memorability and likeability are two different things for me. I can remember vividly my experience with a film without liking it. I can also like a film while watching it and never remembering it afterwards. Out of those two, I’d prefer the former. That still doesn’t change the fact that I’ll probably never watch this film again. At the end of the day, that’s the beauty of films. Subjectivity. And that’s what A24 is great at. Taking chances on ideas that would never be made anywhere else. Sometimes those risks pay off. Sometimes they don’t. This time, it didn’t.

R / 113 mins / Sci-Fi / April 5th, 2019
Directed by Claire Denis
Written by Claire Denis and Jean-Pol Fargeau
Starring Robert PattinsonJuliette Binoche and Andre Benjamin

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