For those born in the dirt, the need to climb up the social ladder becomes an obsession. They resort to all means to claw up their way to power. In a society, where money symbolizes power, the need to possess becomes lethal. Sky High (or originally titled Hasta El Cielo) is a Spanish language film that explores the life of a low-time punk who is ready to sacrifice everything to become the “big shot.”
‘Sky High (Hasta El Cielo)’ Summary
Ángel (Miguel Herrán) works in his friend’s car garage in the Madrid suburbs. His gang of lads is happy with their small lives but each one holds an ambition to become rich, powerful, and most importantly to be accepted in the high class. The narrative prominently lays down Ángel’s ambition through a beautiful scene where he looks at a Skyscraper and comments, “from up there, we must look like ants.” Ángel eyes are burning with the desire to own up space up there, one day.
Ángel meets a girl named Estrella (Carolina Yuste) in a club and instantly strikes a liking. But she is already dating an arrogant but rich punk, Poli (Richard Holmes). Poli drives in luxurious cars and deals in stolen goods. To impress Estrella, Ángel joins hands with Poli and robs a jewelry store for easy bucks. However, Ángel is arrested for the crimes.
Poli, through his most loyal lawyer, Mercedes, helps Ángel to come out from prison. To prove his loyalty and to impress Estrella, Ángel joins Poli’s gang, and together, they start smuggling everything Don Rogelio demands.
Don Rogelio (Luis Tosar) is the king-pin of the suburbs. Every stolen good finds its place in his warehouse. He is the middleman who trades stolen goods to rich people. But Rogelio is not a punk and is well-connected with the government and the judiciary. He leaves no trace of his work and that is what makes him strong.
When Ángel meets Rogelio, he aspires to become like him, and Rogelio’s daughter, Sole (Asia Ortega) becomes his shortcut. Ángel not only dumps Estrella and marries Sole for power, but he also double-crosses Poli and starts his own gang. With the new gang, Ángel becomes a target of the police and other punks and everyone comes to get him, with their weapons unleashed.
Major Spoilers Ahead
‘Sky High (Hasta El Cielo)’ Ending Explained
Through a series of illegal crimes, Ángel scores a hell-load of loose cash. He tries to open a retail shop with that money but the police arrest him in the case of money laundering. His lawyer, Mercedes, explains to him that his stolen money is unaccounted money and he has no proof of the income. He has to turn the black money into white if he wants to start a fresh life.
With the help of Mercedes, Ángel tries to convert his money with the help of some Chinese money launderers. But police had been tapping Mercedes’ phone calls and Ángel’s father-in-law had already warned Ángel not to trust Mercedes. Yet, Ángel goes ahead with the plan and plots his wife, Sole in the hotel to deal with the Chinese and exchange cash.
The police raid the place and arrest Ángel, Sole, and the gang. From the police station, Sole makes a call to Estrella, the only help she can seek. She requests Estrella to disappear two bags filled with cash from the hotel storeroom because if the police find out those bags, it would be the end of Ángel. Sole also asks Estrella to break the simcard after the job is done, to leave without trace.
Estrella successfully removes the bags from the hotel but when she was about to remove the simcard, Don Rogelio’s hired killer (police officer) shoots Estrella and leaves with the bag. It was Sole’s father Don Rogelio who stepped in. To save his daughter, he erased all evidence leading to her.
Police cannot trace any link to Ángel and Sole. They are obliged to drop the charges. In the closing shot, Ángel looks at the lotus tattoo that reminds him of Estrella. For the love and for the girl for whom he entered the illegal business is now gone. Ángel has no wish to join the upper class, he breaks into a store smashing the glass door with his speeding car. He chooses to remain a PUNK.
“A lotus flower grows in the garbage, in pond scum. But it never gets dirty.”Estrella
Sky High (Hasta El Cielo) is a thrilling social commentary on the society where a lowlife has to fight against all odds to create his place in the hierarchy. Yet, the rich don’t accept him and society creates hurdles and judgments to show him his position from time to time. A person sacrifices his life, his love, and his dreams to be accepted but very few of us are able to break the chain.
The film itself is an intriguing ride. The characters have too much to say and any person struggling to take his place in the world will relate to the narrative. The film shakes down a bit due to its repetitive narrative that keeps circling the same issues without introducing anything new. It results in a weak flow that fails to create emotional momentum. Though some of the robbery scenes and accelerating sports vehicles with their “vrooms” pump some adrenaline into the film. It could have been a Fast and Furious, but the film failed to make such an impact.
Sky High (Hasta El Cielo) is a 2021 thriller film directed by Daniel Calparsoro. It is streaming on Netflix.
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