Wednesday, June 02, 2010

High Life: Grade B

High Life (2009)
Timothy Olyphant, Stephen Eric McIntyre, Rossif Sutherland, Joe Anderson. Co-writer and director Gary Yates.

Four Canadian junkies rob a bank in 1983. Needless to say they are all grossly incompetent, immature, and irrational. It is not exactly a comedy, but the tone is light and that’s what makes the movie interesting, since it contrasts sharply against the drug addiction-crime theme which is so heavy. The characters are fairly well defined or at least easily distinguishable.

When the robbery goes bad and there is a big shootemup, that was a disappointment, because up to that point, we were getting invested in the characters’ personalities. A gun battle is just another gun battle, so who cares, and some people get shot and some or all who survive go to prison. The ending is not spelled out. You are just to understand, “disaster.”

But what raises this movie above the typical loser-junkie-crime movie is extremely good acting, excellent directing, and outstanding cinematography, especially in the lighting department, great sets and scens, good costumes. The script is also very good, not stereotypical and always interesting. So this film is worth watching to get a look at some fine young actors who have a great future ahead of them, and some very competent filmmaking.

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