• Platform: Netflix
  • Release Date: 23/7/2021
  • Cast: Peri Baumeister, Carl Anton Koch, Alexander Scheer, Kais Setti, Dominic Purcell
  • Director: Peter Thorwarth

Blood Red Sky stars Peri Baumeister as Nadja, a devoted mother who is suffering from a unique medical condition that is not revealed until at least the halfway mark of the film. She is traveling to the USA with her son, Elias (Carl Anton Koch) who is as caring as a kid can be. He is self-reliant too and does everything that he can to comfort his mother and make her journey easier. As luck would have it, the aeroplane that they are traveling in is hijacked by terrorists who plan to detonate it using high explosives in a la 9/11 fashion. If that was not enough, Nadja is shot by the terrorists when she is trying to retrieve Elias who pushes his self-reliance too far and tries to find a safe haven for his mother and himself. It is only after she is shot that the terrorists and the passengers of the aircraft realize what they are dealing with in her. The rest of the film is about how Nadja and Elias escape certain death at the hands of the terrorists and how they endeavor to save the aeroplane from being blown up.

Poster for ‘Blood Red Sky’

Blood Red Sky is being lambasted by critics and the audience’s world over and has a low rating of around 6.1 on the IMDB but I had a good time with this film. The reasons for that are many. First and foremost, the chemistry and drama between the mother-son duo of Peri Baumeister and Carl Anton Koch are rendered exceptionally well. I loved how they rendered the duo’s mutual dependence and how they were essential for each other. The camaraderie between the two was documented in a way that made it clear that they meant the world to each other and it was done in a way that made it feel authentic and affecting. This sense of attachment and love built up through the first 15-20 minutes of the film between the two is then used throughout the rest of the film to extract as much tension as possible by endangering the duo using various reasons and situations. It is their love that is at the core of everything that Nadja is shown doing and it is her love for her son that enables her to fight her inner urges and still do the right things when every muscle in her body is asking her to do otherwise. We can see her fight with herself and it is made that much more heart-breaking owing to the build-up that we were made privy to.

Peri Baumeister and Carl Anton Koch both do a fantastic job to ensure that their drama feels real and affecting. Peri Baumeister has the most difficult task of selling the transformation bits that show us, Nadja, gradually transforming into something sinister. Unlike other films of the genre, it is done here over a period and is done with an inclination to ensure believability. Thus, she had to exude an uneasiness from the very beginning to ensure that the transformation was sold properly. She achieves that with ease and organic believability. Carl Anton Koch does a fantastic job of documenting Elias’s care and fear for the wellbeing of his mother. Even with the dubbed dialogs, his mannerisms, and the sense of urgency in his actions is enough to convey his haplessness in the situation and the tragedy of it. All this contributes to the thrill and overall impact of the film.     

The action and violence of the film worked well for me. The condition that Nadja was suffering from gave her some special abilities and the makers used these abilities to make her powerful enough to strike fear in the hearts of the terrorists and have a realistic chance of saving the aeroplane and the passengers. However, the makers ensure that Nadja is never made too powerful as that would have spoilt the tension and realism of the plot. Instead, she is shown getting overpowered often and must fight off urges that would make her the biggest villain of them all. In doing so, Peter Thorwarth, the director of the film ensures that the action and violence have enough credibility. The idea is to thrill the audiences and haunt them at the same time. The stunts that we see the actors pull off are also rendered with enough physicality and gusto to make them feel real and effective.

Alexander Scheer as one of the primary antagonists, Eightball is wonderful. He is an insane adversary who is hated even by the other terrorists. He is unpredictable, cruel, and mad. He does things that not only endanger the aeroplane but also turn him into a bigger threat than the hijack and bomb plot. I loved the way in which Scheer approached the character and rendered it. His square looks at people, facial twitches and savage grin complemented the look and feel of the character perfectly and made Eightball a fearsome adversary. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that without Scheer’s fantastic act, the film would have been devoid of a lot of tension and thrills.  

I thoroughly enjoyed the climax of the film. Many would point out the fact that it felt a little over the top and that it was unnecessarily stretched. I partially agree with those points but at the same time believe that since it ended with such an exasperating and rewarding release and was so heart-breaking, it left very little to complain about. The film was evidently building up to it from the very first scene and it does culminate with a bang.

Blood Red Sky is a film about an aeroplane hijack and creature violence running into each other. It is also a film about a mother trying to save his son in an aeroplane and would bring back memories of films like Flightplan (Jodie Foster, 2005) for many. Peter Thorwarth is able to mishmash the two genres well and incorporates a lot of tension and thrills. However, it would have served the film well if it had been at least 30 minutes shorter. It would have not only made the editing crispier but would have also given audiences no time to breathe. Having said that, I still enjoyed the film and was impressed by the performances that in many ways was better than what a film of this nature deserves. If you are willing to accept it for what it is, Blood Red Sky can be an entertaining watch.

Rating: 3/5 (3 out of 5 Stars)

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