‘Sky High’ (original title ‘Hasta el Cielo’) is a Spanish action thriller based in Madrid. Directed by Daniel Calparsoro and starring Miguel Herrán (Rio from ‘Money Heist’) as the ambitious protagonist Ángel, the movie portrays two very different sides of Spanish society. The film follows Ángel’s rise from the city’s suburbs to the echelons of Madrid’s high society on the back of robberies, which he seems to have a knack for.
A fiery mix of action, romance, and betrayal, all tied together with audacious heists, ‘Sky High’ blends some of contemporary Spanish television’s most loved themes and presents it to audiences with aplomb and a twist at the end to boot! If the conclusion of ‘Sky High’ left you with questions, we’ve got for you the answers. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Sky High Plot Synopsis
‘Sky High’ opens with a sad and broken-looking Ángel driving an expensive car. He stops on the road, ruminates for a short time, and then violently drives his car into a jewelry store. The film then goes back by 4 years to Ángel working as a mechanic and begins telling us the story of how he gets to this point. Ángel and his friends, who live in a poor suburb of Madrid, meet local criminal Poli through Estrella, a girl who Ángel likes but is dating Poli at the time.
Poli is a thief who works for a local crime boss called Rogelio and recruits Ángel for their heists, which usually target jewelry and electronic stores. After getting caught and imprisoned for one such heist, Ángel is helped by a lawyer named Mercedes, who works for Poli and his gang whenever they need legal help, which is often. Soon, after released from prison and receiving his share of the loot, Ángel gets more ambitious and starts to aim higher.
As his heists get bigger and riskier, Ángel pushes Poli out and becomes Rogelio’s go-to thief, also forming a gang with his friends and some of Poli’s men. Ángel’s ambition results in him marrying Rogelio’s daughter, Sole, even though he still loves Estrella. Despite his many heists and obvious criminal activity, he is not apprehended since the police are never able to find sufficient proof to convict him.
A detective with the Madrid police, Duque, who has seen Ángel’s rise, keeps following the latter’s actions closely, trying to find a way to catch him red-handed. But Duque’s plans keep getting thwarted. Once, he is even thwarted by a mysterious scar-faced man who turns out to be a senior police official who is not named but is only referred to as “The Brass.” This official is later seen talking to Rogelio.
Ángel slowly develops an incessant need to keep executing heists, and even after a fight with Estrella, he ends up noticing a van carrying cash and starts planning his next robbery, which is his biggest one yet. He and his gang follow the van carrying cash from the island of Ibiza to Valencia and secretly break into it whilst it is on the ferry. Despite the police being on the ferry as well and following Ángel’s moves, his gang gets away with the money. However, they are soon ambushed by Poli’s men, who take the money, making Ángel and Poli’s rivalry even more bitter.
A few years later, we see that Ángel has become more successful and is beginning to open legitimate businesses to launder the money from his crimes. Mercedes then introduces Ángel to a high-profile money launderer who offers to store Ángel’s money for him abroad and says that the Chinese mafia can give Ángel his money whenever he needs it in Spain.
Whilst at the money launderer’s office, which is high up in a skyscraper in the wealthy business center of the city, Ángel looks out from the window and exclaims how the people below look like ants. This is a reference to his earlier days when he and his friends would look at the buildings from their poor suburbs and wonder whether they looked like ants to the rich people. It seems that Ángel has made it. He is literally “sky high.”
Sky High Ending: What Does Ángel Do Next?
Soon after he meets with the money launderer, Ángel notices a location tracker on his car. Rogelio also informs him that Mercedes is not trustworthy and has left for Paris, possibly because something is about to happen. Meanwhile, Ángel’s friends and wife are at a hotel, watching a group of Chinese men, and we soon realize that he and his gang are attempting to steal from the Chinese mafia.
As Ángel realizes that it’s possible that the police are waiting to catch them red-handed and Mercedes might have knowingly or unknowingly betrayed him, he races to the hotel whilst trying to call his wife, Sole, asking her to abort the heist. Just as he enters the hotel, the police, who have been tracking him and his gang, surround him and arrest them all.
Sole, however, hides the incriminating briefcases containing the money before they catch her. From the police station, she calls Estrella and asks her to retrieve the briefcases from the hotel so that the police cannot use them as evidence. She also asks Estrella to run away with Ángel once they are released. Estrella, though hesitant, eventually agrees to pick up the briefcases.
Once she has collected them, she sits in her car, smiling and looking at an old picture of Ángel she had taken, when the mysterious scar-faced police official appears outside her window and shoots her in the head. He then collects the briefcases from her car and walks away. The next scene is the closing scene of the movie and also the one we see at the opening: Ángel drives his car violently into a jewelry shop. Before doing so, we see him glance at a tattoo of a lotus he has on his arm, similar to the one that Estrella had.
The ending leaves us with many questions, especially once Estrella is killed. However, the most immediate question that comes to one’s mind is what happens right after the movie fades to black. We have seen Ángel crash his vehicle before, as it was his gang’s method of choice for breaking into stores. But in the past, he had always done it with his gang and never alone. Moreover, in this situation, he is not prepared and is not wearing a mask covering his face, risking getting identified.
All of this makes us conclude that the sorrow of losing Estrella, combined with his incessant need to keep committing robberies, has made Ángel self-destructive. This also gives another interpretation of the name of the movie. Whereas initially “Sky High” signifies Ángel’s ambition of acquiring wealth and power, it now seems to signify his self-destructive attitude and an apparent death wish.
It is most likely that Ángel is apprehended soon after he drives into the jewelry store; his robbery, if that’s what he was planning, is unsuccessful. Even if he does get away with some loot, the fact that he’s not wearing a facemask means that he is easily culpable for the crime by being caught on surveillance cameras, something which has happened before. So Ángel, we expect, is most likely arrested or has to go on the run soon after we see him drive into the store.
Why is Estrella Killed?
The murder of Estrella is the definitive twist at the end of the movie and nullifies all hopes for a happy ending. However, the exact reasons for her getting shot, especially by the scar-faced police official who only appears a few times in the entire film, are not specified. Though the most obvious answer is that he somehow knows about the money in the briefcases and kills her so he can take it, there are likely much bigger underlying factors at play.
For one, we know that the police official works for the criminal boss Rogelio. We earlier see that Rogelio is aware of the fact that even after being married to his daughter, Sole, Ángel continues to have an affair with Estrella. Despite pretending not to care about this, Rogelio likely has Estrella killed as he is earlier described as a ruthless criminal.
Another factor could be that Rogelio is keeping tabs on Ángel’s criminal activities to make sure that he is not branching out on his own, as Ángel did with Poli. When Rogelio realizes that Ángel is planning on stealing from the Chinese without telling him, Rogelio decides to teach Ángel a lesson by taking the money and having Estrella killed. In all cases, it seems that the truly insidious character in the movie who is pulling all the strings is Rogelio.
Will Ángel Avenge Estrella’s Murder?
At the end of the movie, we see Ángel broken by Estrella’s death, leading him to drive his car into the jewelry store. He seems to have thrown caution and self-preservation to the winds and is going down a dark path of destruction. This, combined with his fiery temper and vengeful attitude that we see when he almost kills Poli for stealing from him, makes it very likely that Ángel will violently avenge Estrella’s murder.
The only reason that he has not done so yet is possibly that he does not know who killed her in the first place. Estrella’s murder occurs in an empty underground parking lot, with her murderer being barely recognizable. If Ángel ever does figure out that it is the police official who killed her, it seems very likely that he will try to murder him despite the consequences, which Ángel doesn’t seem to care for anymore.
A more interesting situation could arise if Ángel figures out that it may just have been Rogelio who is responsible for Estrella’s murder and then has to take revenge from his own father-in-law and boss. A showdown between Rogelio and Ángel would prove to be a worthy battle as both men are shown to be highly successful criminals. It would also put Ángel’s wife Sole in a very precarious position, and given how much Angel loved Estrella, it makes the possibility of reconciliation between him and Rogelio very unlikely.
One last possibility is seeing as how Estrella was against criminal activities from the start and only grudgingly participated, her memory may inspire Ángel to change his ways and give up a life of crime by either leaving Spain and starting a new life or taking responsibility for his actions and spending a significant time in prison. The latter seems unlikely, however, after seeing Ángel’s volatile and often selfish character throughout the film.
Who is The Scar-Faced Police Officer?
The mysterious scar-faced police officer, though rarely seen, plays a pivotal role in the end when he murders Estrella and makes off with the briefcases. The shadowy character doesn’t utter a single dialogue in the entire film and makes one wonder just what his motivations are.
He is initially seen to be helping Ángel by foiling detective Duque’s raid, which we later find out he likely does at Rogelio’s request. However, we do not know for certain whether he murders Estrella at Rogelio’s request as well, or if he has another reason to do it. There is a possibility, as stated earlier, that he kills her purely to keep the money for himself. However, there is also a possibility that the mysterious police official is working with the Chinese, and recovers the stolen money for them by killing Estrella.
The police officer’s knowledge of Estrella’s whereabouts is also an interesting factor, considering that no one apart from Sole knew that Estrella was on her way to pick up the briefcases from the hotel. This could point to the fact that he had been tracking Estrella’s movements, possibly because she was Ángel’s girlfriend. If that is the case, then it is also likely that he knows the location of Ángel and Estrella’s secret spot where they hid all their money and might try to raid that as well, further adding to Ángel’s woes.
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