The first film review of the new year is a female empowered fantasy war flick that fails to really excel at any of that. In fact, most of the film is a bag of mixed goods with a very interesting concept that feels like it came from the mind of Steven Spielberg. Problem is the end result is a film that feels like it was directed by McG. Very little style and almost no substance. This is quite a shame because I think Chloe Grace Moretz is an amazing actress who always seems to find herself in films that are best described as “just not good enough.”
Shadow in the Cloud is a 2020 American fantasy adventure action film directed by Roseanne Liang, from a screenplay by Liang and Max Landis. It stars the aforementioned Chloë Grace Moretz, Taylor John Smith, Nick Robinson, Beulah Koale and Callan Mulvey. Its plot deals with a World War II air force service woman who tries to escape from her abusive husband, only to have a gremlin attack the bomber she is riding on.
The biggest problem with this film is I really wanted to love it. But the film is just oddly paced, shot, and even written. The score is very synth heavy and feels completely out of place for a film that is supposed to be set during World War 2. A large chunk of the film is shot in the plane’s gun ball turret where Moretz character, Garrett, is trapped. I understand the director probably wanted to create a sense of claustrophobia but it made the film just drag at an unbearable rate. And not to mention, we didn’t even get to meet the rest of the supporting cast until the final act of the film. Garrett’s only interaction with the crew ranges from her being harassed, being told she is crazy, and finally being harassed some more. Which begs the question, are even supposed to like the other people in this movie? The things they say about Garrett is sick, unfunny, and borderline offensive.
As for the Gremlin creature, its okay. It’s more unnerving to look at than something that inspires fear. This is honestly a film that could have taken place in any time era, the World War 2 time frame is often an afterthought that is almost never explored.
As mentioned, Moretz really tries hard in the role of Garrett and is a fierce female protagonist that is Ripley-esque. Even when the action veers on the side of cartoony and over the top, the suspense is still there that creates some decent drama. I just wish the rest of the crew would have been as involved with the rest of the story.
Overall, writer Max Landis continues to create stories that have amazing concepts but fail to evolve into much else. Like J.J. Abrams, Landis can get the ball rolling, but can’t ever keep it moving consistently.
Shadow in the Cloud is a great concept with an amazing lead actress but fails to aspire to be anything more than an interesting concept that desperately needed a script revision. The HipsterZOMBIEJoint Experience gives this film a VERY slight recommend.