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French director Claire Denis shares certain affinities with fellow filmmakers Terrence Malick and Lars von Trier; disturbing, ubiquitous uncertainty, aura of apocalyptic gloom hover at the epicenter of their films; “High Life” at times, breathtaking cinematographically, shades of Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights”, focuses on hardened criminals surviving in a space ship, floating in an alternate galaxy; commencing with “Monty” (muscular performance by Robert Pattinson) solitarily caring for his infant daughter; flashbacks as to how the others have gone missing, resulting in displays of inordinate sensationalism: rape, butchering, forced insemination; Juliette Binoche at fifty-five has made some questionable career choices (“Let the Sunshine In”) of late; she is a doctor/nurse manipulating the sexual compulsions of the inmates; tresses to rival Rapunzel, she engages in a masturbatory feat denied titillation, just disenchanted embarrassment, disgust.

“High Life” is squeamishly unsatisfying, negativity outweighs the overly ambitious science fiction premise; weary of futuristic films highlighting a dystopian society far less appealing, than the world at large.


TWO & 1/2 STARS!!



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