Parents' Guide to

Rising High

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Drug use, binge drinking, cursing in formulaic crime drama.

Movie NR 2020 94 minutes
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This movie is mildly entertaining, but it's ultimately another flashy, unoriginal crime caper. While conning the innocent out of their dreams of home ownership, these charming rogues drink, drug, and womanize their way through the good life, and while the beginning of Rising High tells you how it ends for them, it's easy enough to guess ahead of time that cocaine use and sketchy real estate deals aren't exactly a recipe for a sustainable life. While the flashbacks show how Viktor got to be so obsessed with financial success at any cost, such devices feel as formulaic as every other aspect of the movie.

As is the case in so-so movies like these when (spoiler alert) the main characters aren't killed, the ending makes a choice between cheap cynicism or cheap sentiment. While one hopes for something more original than the two, this opts for one of the above in a way that comes off as lazy and unsatisfying. The acting strikes the right sense of urgency and dry humor throughout, but the story never quite lets them be more than stock antiheroes. And before it gives the audience a chance to really feel anything besides revulsion that these three aren't "beating the system" so much as they are hurting innocent people, the movie immediately flashes off into a glitzy montage replete with "oontz oontz oontz" electronic dance music, drug use, and prostitutes.

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