What is the story about?
A parent-less youngster, Ángel leads an ordinary life with his grandpa at a shack camp in the outskirts of Madrid. Trying hard to make ends meet with his small-time job as a mechanic at a garage, Ángel is fast looking for ways to earn quick money. He resorts to a rather convenient alternative – stealing by the night, accompanied by friends Poli, Motos and Gitano.
He miraculously escapes cops while looting from a jewellery store. Ángel later falls for Poli’s ex, Estrella. Despite going behind bars, he does little to mend his ways. He doesn’t have the most trustworthy lawyer in the form of Mercedes. Ángel decides to marry his childhood friend Sole, the daughter of the kingpin Rogelio. Is that the panacea to all his woes though?
Sky High is a rags-to-riches story chronicling the messy life of a young criminal. The story is steeped in reality, as it puts forth misadventures of an average youngster who’s lured into a world of crime and has no escape in sight. If only the execution matched the intentions of the story at every beat, the film would’ve offered a hard-hitting, engaging peek into the underbelly of Spain. It's too tediously paced for a thriller that adrenaline rush seems a planet way.
The writing has plenty of scope for human drama – the rare opportunity for a criminal to start on a clean slate again, the price that he has to pay to rise through the ranks in the world of crime, caught between his girlfriend and wife in a transactional marriage and living life on the run. It’s a shame that the characters are under-developed and the emotional beats don’t strike a chord.
There’s nothing to motivate you to sit through an overlong narrative that’s pointlessly repetitive. If the film does one thing well, it’s to leave a lump in your throat in the climactic sequence. Yet, the execution is so cold throughout that you don’t care for the events in the story or the characters. Everyone is busy double-crossing each other. The locales in Ibiza and Madrid are a sight for sore eyes though you realise you’re not here for Spanish tourism. Are you?
Miguel Herrán has become the face of Spanish thrillers on Netflix, purely the reason why casting him as a lead for Sky High is a case of overkill. He’s of course an ideal fit to play the lead here, but you’re almost prepared for the performance he’s about to deliver – the surprise element is little. Carolina Yuste looks ethereal as Estrella, a strong, young girl who remains unlucky with love. The character graph has several interesting twists and turns and she handles the transitions quite ably.
Luis Tosar in the role of the kingpin Rogelio has a stately screen presence, while the viewer doesn’t get enough time to understand the mind of Sole, played by Asia Ortega. Richard Holmes (Poli) and Patricia Vico (Mercedes) fit the bill of a criminal and an advocate perfectly, while Fernando Cayo’s portrayal of a cop could have done with more authority.
Music & Other Departments
The sound design is among the high points of Sky High – the raw sound texture provides a lot of authenticity to the film’s setting. Josu Inchaustegui, the cinematographer, enjoys the free hand he’s provided with the visuals and gives them that much-needed flashiness, intoxication and madness for a story set in a crime world. The writing has depth, though the filmmaker fails to translate the essence of the story for the visual medium.
- Good story
- Shot beautifully
- Terrific sound-design
- Haphazard, cold execution
- Essence lost in translation (from script to film)
- Unengaging screenplay
Did I enjoy it?
Do I recommend it?