Claire Denis has been making movies for over three decades, which makes it somewhat of a surprise 2019 will finally see the release of her first English-language directorial effort. The film, “High Life,” finds Denis putting her own unique stamp on the space movie, just as Stanley Kubrick, Christopher Nolan, Damian Chazelle, and more celebrated auteurs have done in the past. And yet, nothing can really prepare viewers for what “High Life” has in store for them.
“High Life” stars Robert Pattinson as a prisoner traveling aboard a spaceship on a mission to find alternative energy. The mission is being overseen by a doctor (Juliette Binoche) who is using the prisoners for her own mysterious purposes. While “High Life” reviews out of fall festivals last year have spoiled some of the extreme surprises of the movie, to say more about the plot would be a disservice to Denis’ vision.
In his A- review out of the Toronto International Film Festival, IndieWire senior film critic David Ehrlich praises “High Life” as a “mesmerizing look into the void.” “‘High Life’ is a pensive and profound study of human life on the brink of the apocalypse,” Ehrlich writes. “It’s a sublime movie that suggests we all have to stop close enough to the abyss that we can begin to see a new hope building inside, no matter how deranged that hope might be.”
“High Life” reunites Denis with Juliette Binoche after last year’s romantic comedy-drama “Let the Sunshine In.” For Pattinson, the film is his latest collaboration with an international auteur. The actor only appeared in one theatrical release in 2018, the Zellner brothers’ “Damsel,” but he’s back in a major way this year with “High Life” and “The Lighthouse,” the new horror film from “The Witch” director Robert Eggers.
A24 will open “High Life” in select theaters April 12. Watch the official trailer below.