Prisoners in space peer into the void.
If Robert Pattinson is aiming to establish himself as a serious actor, “the plan is working,” said Caryn James in BBC.com. Following his impressive turns in Good Time and Damsel, the former Twilight heartthrob delivers just the humane, understated performance needed to ground Claire Denis’ “provocative, eerie, and above all weird” new film. Pattinson plays one of several death-row inmates (alongside Mia Goth and Outkast’s André Benjamin) who have agreed to travel into deep space for a government experiment. The close quarters provide Denis a petri dish for probing the essence of human behavior. Juliette Binoche, “the world’s finest actress,” plays a mad scientist obsessed with reproduction, said David Ehrlich in IndieWire.com. She uses the other passengers as guinea pigs, but because sex isn’t allowed in this “sublime” film, unfulfilled desires lead to violence. “High Life can be brutal and breathtakingly perverse,” and its moments of tenderness make it even more disturbing, said Justin Chang in LATimes.com. At 72, Denis is “one of our greatest living filmmakers.” Though I overheard a man blasting the French provocateur’s English-language debut as the worst movie ever, “one viewer’s hyperbolic anger can be a reliable indicator that a masterwork has presented itself.” ■