Not Quite Rising High Enough
Netflix’s latest German film Betonrausch (Rising High) brings us a movie about wealth and the lengths people are willing to go to achieve it, regardless of who they hurt in the process. It’s a concept that has been done before and more effectively in films like The Wolf of Wall Street, failing to allow Betonrausch to ascend to those same heights. While the movie is a decent watch, it does comes across as a little predictable at times and the comparisons will almost certainly be rife with this.
The story follows troubled Viktor who hasn’t had an easy childhood with his father who used to struggle financially. As he moves to Berlin, he is determined to make a name for himself and have the life his father never had. Viktor quickly realises that the honest way is not going to bring him what he desires, so instead he turns t real estate scam with the help of his new friend Gerry.
Later on in the film the dynamic changes slightly as they’re joined by mortgage broker Nicole and together, they set out to scam their way to the top.
The film itself is edited together with numerous flashback as Viktor is interrogated in prison by a journalist. Unfortunately this makes the ending quite predictable and dissipates any tension as we know what happens to him. Still, there are quite a few interesting twists along the way which helps the movie’s pacing and there’s some quick edits at times too which makes for an easy watch.
One of the issues with Betonrausch comes from its characterisation; it starts off quite well while we follow Viktor’s ambition but it soon tails off when it moves to the usual tropes of expensive cars, parties, prostitutes and drugs. We never really sympathize with the main character and some scenes feel a little awkward too, with one such example seeing Gerry asking his new employees to start singing a Christmas song.
The movie does tackle some interesting themes though, including greed, wealth and the scamming methods some people are willing to use to reach their goals. With a lack of empathy from any of our characters, when the emotional segments do arrive they feel too little too late as we never get much time to warm to these players throughout the title.
While Betonrausch is not the most original movie out there and certainly has its fair share of flaws, it’s still a wholly enjoyable and easy watch film. The story is a little predictable and follows the usual tropes you’d expect, but its short runtime and lively pace should be enough to see past that. While there are better titles out there, Betonrausch is a good enough film to watch but not one you’ll find yourself returning to in a hurry.
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Verdict - 6/10