High Life

High Life ★★★½

Juliette Binoche stunned me with her performance of one of the most fascinating and terrifying female villains I’ve seen in a long time. Female villains are often typified by their sexuality (as seductresses for example), and Binoche’s Dibs is an object of sexual desire to men of the spaceship but is never available to them through a male fantasy of seduction. When one seems to finally be close to consummation with her, she kills him coldly and calmly. But even as an object of desire for certain characters, she is never such for the audience. She is not a sexy villain tailor made for male consumption and enjoyment. Her hair is long and tangled like a nest, and most of all she is wholeheartedly a terrible person. She is not defined by a tight outfit or a sensual glare but instead by her tyrannical control over her crew and especially over their bodies. She is a predator and a rapist. She is a murderer. She is unhinged and evil and terrifyingly compelling. Juliette Binoche is so watchable, so off kilter and has such a strong understanding of every facet of her character. She is not to be missed.

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