Film Review of Claire Denis’s High Life

You pardon your journey for a destination; conceiving of no other means to live life entirely. But what does any destination entail? A boundary, perhaps, of reassuring one’s unsettled and undisguised self that their life is leading up to something concrete – that it must – or else what’s the point in living?

High Life is a quiet and immeasurably confined sci-fi film. It questions the naked aspect of human nature. What remains when nothing else does? The film’s language speaks of a time that is altruistically detached, impulse-driven, uncertain, copious yet restrained. It acutely embraces man’s most innate experiences. Narrating a story of birth and death and all the knowable and unknowable gradations that take place in between.

High Life does not perpetuate the progression of humanity as it is. It does not convey hope as one might expect to wake up from a nightmare. The relief that you feel, the receding pulse, the abating sweat once you realize reality is not supposed to be as stifling and stagnant as a bad dream. The film has a kaleidoscopic effect. It equates to inflated uneasiness, a catalyst to what, for men and women, belies suffering, unhappiness, and loneliness.

The film inures one to prepare for a new, tactile dimension to desire and distaste. Surpassing the boundaries of hedonistic pleasures. And questioning the certainty, the effectiveness of a traditional, and supposedly inadequate, society. What remains when nothing else does? What is it that you cannot escape? When all is destructible – nations, religion, politics – which criterion defines you? The answer lies in those sunken and desolate corridors of High Life. And the floating world that inhabits it in the middle of nowhere – where even time is its slave.