“Sky”: Norman Reedus and Diane Kruger star in this film about a French woman on the run who finds an unexpected home under the vivid skies of the American Southwest. 3 stars out of 4.
French filmmaker Fabienne Berthaud (“Frankie,” “Lily Sometimes”) plays with our expectations in her third feature, “Sky” — early on, you realize with a jolt that you’re watching what seems to be a remake of “Psycho.”
A lovely blond French woman, Romy (Diane Kruger, who’s starred in all of Berthaud’s films), goes on the run after committing a terrible act while on holiday with her husband (Gilles Lellouche) in the American Southwest. Buying a cheap used car, she drives at night, uneasily eyeing the darkness outside. As she checks into a highway motel, its mildly creepy proprietor offers her a quiet room away from the road; you want to warn her to stay away from the shower.
But “Sky,” despite its Hitchcockian beginning, is no thriller; instead, it’s a character study of a woman seeking a second act, and of a landscape that gradually transforms from foreign to welcoming. Though the situation that caused Romy to flee is soon resolved, she’s struggling with a larger issue — how to leave her husband of eight years and start again in a strange land. With little money and only enough belongings to fit in one shoulder bag, Romy begins a life of drifting, and “Sky” becomes a series of temporary places to stay and, maybe, temporary people to love. She’s trying on a new life for size, like the cowboy hat she playfully dons.
Movie Review ★★★
‘Sky,’ with Diane Kruger, Norman Reedus, Gilles Lellouche, Lena Dunham, Q’orianka Kilcher. Directed by Fabienne Berthaud, from a screenplay by Berthaud and Pascal Arnold. 103 minutes. In French and English, with English subtitles where necessary. Varsity.
Beautifully shot by cinematographer Nathalie Durand, “Sky” blooms with, well, skies, in every possible variant: blood-orange sunsets, pale-indigo mornings, vivid blue afternoons dappled with clouds that look like pebbles on a beach. The setting transforms Romy, as does an unexpectedly passionate relationship with a fellow troubled soul (Norman Reedus); she looks, by the end, as if she’s breathing different air.
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All roads, it turns out, lead to home.