Sky Peals Review

Sky Peals
Sky Peals
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It seems quite odd to mourn the loss of something you had already lost – a second death. It’s a kind of mourning that frequently uncovers painful options, unfinished dialogues, and an entire array of “What if?”. That is where Adam (Faraz Ayub) begins his journey in Moin Hussain’s first full-length feature film, Sky Peals. On a late night, after finishing work at the service station, Adam receives his father’s message (Jeff Mirza). The thing is that for over twenty years Adam has not seen or heard about his father since he walked out of their family house and never came back.

It does not take long before he learns from someone else that his father died. As an adult man, Adam loses his father again after losing him as a young boy whereby sudden grief makes him remember traumas he had tried so hard to hide under layers of denialism. Hassan’s death brings together Adam with some troubled parts of his past as well as his long-lost brother’s household. This meeting evoked many painful memories and raised more doubts within this person especially when it came to understanding who was my dad. The amount of new information becomes too much for any one person to process and soon enough its emotional effect finds a way out through suffocating panic attacks accompanied by disorienting moments of amnesia.

Although it is never expressly mentioned that Adam has neurodivergent traits, there are strong hints suggesting so. Sound design that amplifies noisy spaces’ overwhelmingness which is beautifully captured by Nick Cooke on camera adds further to this feeling. Like traps narrowing corridors and gloomy office spaces contract around the protagonist while overexposed lights only shine brighter causing severe disorientation, A limbo is what best describes the service station a place nowhere but everywhere in the middle of the night ready suspended between worlds. There are moments amidst these chaotic scenes where Adam can find refuge even if it means a few minutes inside the walk-in freezer of the disheveled fast food joint he works at or a calm pause on an escalator while the hum of a rotating belt sings him to sleep.

Sky Peals is based on how Adam experiences the world around him, and how others experience him and his condition and it is one of the most moving – and sensitive – depictions of neurodivergence in cinema. Hussain knows so well who his main character is that he does not need to be repellant enough for one to see how indifferent Adam is towards life. Everybody in Adam’s surroundings treats him with care starting from his mother (Claire Rushbrook)’s loving push outside her nest, and down to his boss (Steve Oram)’s managerial skills rooted in a belief in Adam’s professional ability. Hassan’s family makes his son an orphan but always talks about tomorrow while looking back at yesterday with nostalgia.

Newcomer Ayub loves moments when everything is still. Shriveled up into himself, he conveys the idea of being overwhelmed while his big brown eyes beam out at people during complicated social interactions. On the other side, Rushbrook is always fabulous and utilizes her very few scenes in the film where she speaks candidly about being abandoned and raising a small boy in a new town after being taken from her home to be with a man who never intended to start a family.

This mother-son relationship is unfiltered and based on truthfulness whether it feels comfortable or not making it the most beautiful couple in any movie that gives room for air to explore so many aspects of companionship as well as empathy.

However, how British first-time filmmakers have made exquisitely shaded films about England’s diaspora complexities has received little attention recently. In 2023 alone this theme was addressed by satire (In Camera by Naqqash Khalid), horror (Paris Zarcilla’s Raging Grace), and Hussain’s moving foray into magical realism. This readiness to address mourning over cultural and geographical displacement as well as loneliness offers Hussain an opportunity to build anotherness as grief.


Sharp sound design and cinematography combine in Moin Hussain’s directorial debut, placing the viewer inside Adam’s world, which can be too much at times since he works at a petrol station while also dealing with the grief of finding out something new about himself when his long lost father dies.

Read Sky Peals on Fmovies

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