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The less you know about Claire Denis’s existential sci-fi odyssey, the more assaulting the ride. In brief, a monkish young man (Robert Pattinson) and an evil doctor (Juliette Binoche) are among a handful of prisoners sent to space to contemplate their crimes; an infant on board their spaceship is both a miracle and a chilling reminder.
Since his breakout role in The Twilight Saga, Pattinson’s career choices have been fascinating to observe from afar. He’s made films with David Cronenberg, David Michôd, James Gray and the Safdie brothers; all acclaimed film-makers, but hardly popular and certainly not as well known as the star himself. His collaboration with Denis, doyenne of spare, nonverbal French cinema, is maybe his most electric yet. In many scenes it is just Pattinson and the baby; action-wise, there’s a lot of wandering deserted corridors and performing dull daily rituals. Yet as Monte, Pattinson is as subtle, exacting and unpredictable as he’s ever been, transmitting bone-deep loneliness and resigned fatalism with very little dialogue to help him.
“Constant acceleration creates a sense of weightlessness,” he says, aware that the ship is headed straight into the mouth of a black hole. They can’t feel themselves hurtling towards infinite doom, he seems to be saying, but in Denis’s soul-stirring English language debut, the gravitational pull of sex, death and the void is palpable.
Source: The Guardian
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