Above Us Only Sky
Sandra Hüller delivers an extraordinary performance in Above Us Only Sky. Hüller plays Martha, a woman simultaneously grieving for her dead husband whilst coping with the discovery that much of his life was a fabrication. At first failing utterly to believe the news of his suicide her search for the truth fractures off into a relationship with Alexander, a lecturer who may have been the inspiration for some of the husband’s lies.
Hüller made a big splash in the German film Requiem (2006) with her naturalistic style, something that continues to devastating emotional extremes in Above Us Only Sky. Watching her react to the news from two police officers that her husband has committed suicide prompts total sympathy from an audience. Against the ashen faces she calls his voicemail to correct the ‘mistake’. As the truth hits home Hüller manages the tricky job of making Martha seem painfully real as she flits between delusion, bereavement and rebound, all compounded by her search for the truth.
Debut feature director Jan Schombug mixes all of this up creating a melange approach to moving on. Mostly conceived from Martha’s viewpoint Schombug diverts the film’s point of view to Alexander for a short interlude after the pair first meet in a lift. Linking the couple through the way Alexander brushes his hair it’s a very deft touch. Emotionally Above Us Only Sky shares a place with Vertigo although it’s far less contrived! A good European counterpoint is Time Out which views a similar scenario from the impostor’s perspective.
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