TL;DR – An interesting concept and set up, that does not quite have the strength to get all the way to the end credits.
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
There is something about a good con film that can really engage you. It can be the way they upend the system, the suave chaos of its, and the way they pull of the graft. There is that feeling that they could be caught out at any moment, making every moment feel tense, especially as it starts to spiral.
So to set the scene, we open in on a party in full swing, boobs, drugs, and dancing everywhere, it is a chaos of ecstasy and excess. In the morning, there is carnage across the house and only Viktor (David Kross) is awake looking at all he has made when police storm the property. Arrested and in custody, we hear all the charges laid against him, which is many, so what is there to do, well you can tell your whole story to the police which is what Viktor does.
In a film like this, you have to connect with one of the leads, and you get that here. Viktor is charming and you do feel like he could talk his way into almost anything, which is good because that what they end up doing. For better or worse his silver tongue opens up many doors and also destroys many lives. Then, of course, there is Gerry (Frederick Lau) who is presented as the contrast to Viktor. He is rougher around the edges, seen more of the world. They keep this juxtaposition up with Viktor being constantly clean-shaven and Gerry having a permanent stubble … well, when things are going well.
In most con films, the target of the con is someone you don’t mind losing money, so you can have a guilt-free time as you watch people get fleeced. Here this is not the case, the targets of the con are normal everyday people who are getting caught up in this real estate scam. This creates an interesting problem for the film because they want the leads to be likable, but then they destroy people’s lives. You spend the time wondering who the film is barracking for, which is just at the moment everything starts to unravel.
The structure of the film fits into a comfortable well-trod back and forth between the present and the past. In the present Viktor is explaining it all to a Journalist (Anne Schäfer) and providing the commentary to everything, giving that moment of perspective, and intersection as it all falls apart. Then we get the slow unravelling of Viktor life, which we know ends badly thanks to the opening of the film. This juxtaposition helps keep everything moving, which helps when the film shifts gear in the second half.
Overall the film is constructed well, with the staging and lighting. There are moments of chaos that show both the abject chaos and yet you can follow what is going one, which is a good touch. The film is also really German, in that is deals with some really specific factors but it makes it clear as to their context, even if you don’t quite understand the reason why the letter from the tax department is so bad, you do understand the effect. There are some frustrating aspects of the film, like how it dips into stereotypes and then ending did leave me feeling cold.
In the end, do we recommend Rising High? Well, I’m not completely sure. It is a well-made film, with some great action. However, it didn’t feel like it had the strength to make it all the way to the end which does make it difficult to recommend. If you liked Rising High I would also recommend The Adventurers.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
Have you watched Rising High?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Rising High
Directed by – Cüneyt Kaya
Written by – Cüneyt Kaya
Story by – Cüneyt Kaya & Johannes Kunkel
Music by – Christopher Bremus
Cinematography by – Sebastian Bäumler
Edited by – Maren Unterburger
Production/Distribution Companies – Netflix
Starring – David Kross, Frederick Lau, Janina Uhse, Anne Schäfer, Sophia Thomalla, Samuel Finzi, Peri Baumeister & Detlev Buck
Rating – Australia: MA15+;