‘Sky’ Puts a New Spin on the Road Trip Film
Apr 12, 2016
Road trip films are certainly a staple of film history. “Thelma and Louise,” “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Vacation” are just a few examples of the multitude of films in this popular genre. “Sky,” directed by Fabienne Berthaud and starring Diane Kruger, Norman Reedus and Lena Dunham, puts a new spin on the tried-and-true trope.
Romy (Kruger) and Richard (Gilles Lellouche) are on holiday in America for the first time, vacationing in California in hopes of fixing their faltering marriage. The French couple has been married for eight years, but they don’t seem to have much in common anymore. The tension between the two slowly escalates during their vacation and after an altercation in which a drunk Richard attempts to rape Romy, she hits him over the head with the bedside lamp and flees.
While it is soon discovered that Richard is still alive, Romy bids him farewell and hitchhikes her way to Las Vegas to begin her life anew. Along the way she meets an eclectic assortment of characters, including a prostitute and a cowboy. The cowboy, Diego (Reedus), buys her a drink, and while she drunkenly rants about how love isn’t real, she soon contradicts her own words by falling for Diego’s ruggedness.
There are several recurring themes throughout the film. For example, Romy and Richard stop at a diner for some food, wherein Richard expresses his irritation with all of the different options he has been given by the waitress. Fast forward to the end of the film, where Romy is working as a waitress at a diner similar to the one from the start, and now she is the one offering an abundance of options. Full circle moments are part of what makes “Sky” such a unique example of a film centered on car trips.
The film is beautifully crafted in terms of cinematography. Consistent, breathtaking shots of the bright blue sky coincide with the film’s title, as well the new name Romy is given near the end of the movie.
Kruger’s depiction of Romy — a lost, determined woman in a world completely different from what she knows — is as spot-on as it could be. Reedus is as withdrawn and unpredictable as Diego. One moment he is yelling and hurling insults at Romy, the next he is embracing her and all traces of his previous self have disappeared. Lena Dunham also makes an appearance as Diego’s sister-in-law: the goofy, forlorn perpetually pregnant wife of Diego’s even more reclusive brother.
The plot, while at some points muddled, ultimately comes to a satisfying conclusion, and Romy’s strength is the backbone of the film.
“Sky” releases nationwide on April 15.
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