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Tue10222019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Robert Pattinson, the man who will be Batman, continues establishing himself as one of his generation’s finest actors with High Life, a dark, scarily effective sci-fi thriller.

Directed and co-written by Claire Denis, the film stars Pattinson as Monte, a death-row inmate sent into space with a crew of prisoners, including a murderous doctor played by Juliette Binoche. The prisoners dedicate their lives to scientific experiments rather than rotting in cells back on Earth.

It’s established early that Monte and his toddler daughter are the only survivors of the flight after things went terribly wrong. The deterioration of the mission is told in flashback. Mia Goth and Andre Benjamin play two other members of the ill-fated crew.

Everybody is terrific in this movie, which turns out to be one of the darker, more-effective sci-fi offerings in years. The mission’s ultimate goal is to pass through a black hole and see what is on the other side. Even with his crew gone, Monte forges on as his daughter ages along with him in space. It’s all very eerie, but also moving.

Cool trivia note: The baby is played by Scarlett Lindsey, the daughter of a friend of Pattinson, which explains their amazing rapport.

High Life is available via online sources including iTunes and Amazon.com.

Published in DVDs/Home Viewing

In The Survivalist, Martin McCann plays a character—simply listed as Survivalist in the credits—who is living on a small piece of land in a post-apocalyptic world where food has grown scarce. It’s a lonely existence, but he has a crop to get by, and it’s all for him.

That is, until a mysterious woman (Olwen Fouere) and her daughter (Mia Goth) show up looking to barter for food. He refuses their offer of pumpkin seeds, but the Survivalist accepts the offer of sleeping with the daughter … and then things get a little complicated.

Writer-director Stephen Fingleton has made a film that is relentlessly dark, and has almost nothing good to say about human beings. (Hey, the human race needs a good smack-down sometimes … am I right?)

McCann is highly memorable as a nervous man who yearns for companionship yet trusts no one. Fouere provides the right amount of nastiness as somebody who has been hardened by the apocalypse. Goth plays the film’s most sympathetic character, yet even she is a schemer with nefarious intentions. The darkness plays out until the bitter end.

This is a film that aims to bum you out—and succeeds. I say this as a compliment.

The Survivalist is available via online sources including iTunes and Amazon.com.

Published in DVDs/Home Viewing