As Robert Pattinson continues his light-speed move away from “heart throb” and his Twilight years, he continues to, seemingly, only be interested in absolutely bizarre roles/films, High Life is without exception.
At just shy of two-hours, High Life has to be one of the most pretentious, turgid pieces of cinema I’ve ever had the misfortune to watch.
It’s so high-concept that it missed the page, by about the distance the space-bound criminals are away from Earth by the time we join them, some thousands of days later travelling at the speed of light, which seems to mean all physics are disregarded.
If you are wondering whether I’m being too harsh, consider that one review of the film, from its TIFF premiere, wrote that the film “…utterly confounds average viewers”. Average viewers!? What exactly is a non-average viewer? Someone with three-eyes? What a crock.
The gang are travelling in a seventies office-block, with a similar interior and technology that looks like it’s from the nineties, travelling at the speed of light.
On this trip Pattinson (“Good Time“, “Twilight”) is joined by Juliette Binoche (“Ghost In The Shell“, “The 33“) who is the leader of the group and also potentially a criminal herself, it’s not completely clear.
There’s also Andre Benjamin (from Outkast), Mia Goth (“A Cure For Wellness“, “Suspiria”), Agata Buzek (“Redemption”, “The Innocents”), Lars Eidinger (“Never Look Away”, “Hells Bells”), Claire Tran (“Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets“, “Lucy”), and some others, to be honest, it’s not really important. Pattinson and Binoche are our main two weirdos, along with a baby, Pattinson’s daughter it transpires, who cries, a lot.
The criminals are sent on this mission after being offered the choice whilst on Earth; stay and see out your sentence on death row or take this trip into space for ‘science’. This bunch chose the latter, but realise, somewhat late, that this is a one-way trip.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the criminals eventually turn on each other. It’s not a Battle Royale style melee as you’re praying for at this point, but they all die. This isn’t a spoiler by the way, the film isn’t told in a linear fashion, so you join the film with Pattinson on his own.
Pattinson provides voice-over in a mumbling, bored sounding droll as the film drags itself from scene to scene. It’s like walking through concrete, in a space-suit, having taken a handful of Xanax.
There’s a comedy seventies-style sex scene involving Binoche and a chair, it even includes the cut-away scene of phallic shaped object (a dildo in this instance) moving up and down. This takes place within a wank-box, to put it mildly, if the film is a metaphor, I think this box about sums it up.
The film is classed as an adventure, drama and horror. I can tell you it’s none of these things. It has all the adventure of shifting your arse on the sofa, that action is about as dramatic as things get and horror? I must have blinked and missed that bit.
I’m struggling to think of redeeming features. I guess, in all of this mess, Binoche performs admirably, as bizarre a role as she’s given, Pattinson does ok, it’s not his finest hour, and if everyone else was just told to ‘act a bit weird’, well, job done.
Perhaps I’m not the target audience though as I’m an ‘average viewer’. If that’s the case, that’s absolutely fine with me if it means I don’t have to see movies like this anymore.