© 2013 ALCATRAZ FILMS/WILD BUNCH/ARTE FRANCE CINEMA/PANDORA PRODUKTION

At the beginning of High Life, I was inspired to be wonderstruck by the cosmos, asking the eternal questions like, “How vast is the vastness of space?” and “What existed before existence?” These queries are terrifying in their unanswerability, but also comforting in how they remind us that the construct of the universe is so much bigger than everything we know. But then the rest of High Life is just about living and getting on. And that’s all well and good, and it’s worth exploring that routine in outer space, whether or not it’s populated by convicted criminals. It’s an unstructured viewing experience, and you’ll struggle to care if you’re not especially tuned in to director Claire Denis’ wavelength, though you might occasionally be thrilled by the daring approach. I appreciate High Life for staking out a unique place in cinema, but I don’t particularly ever want to experience it again (at least not most of it).

I give High Life A Medium Lack of Gravity.

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