What’s In The Bag?!
Oh good grief, we are well and truly kicking off the dump months with a low bar. Commonly, Hollywood tend to release a lot of their least favourable projects in the early year so it’s hardly surprising. Shadow in the Cloud is another B-movie casualty that’ll likely crash harder than this B-17 Flying Fortress we spend most of our time in.
Tonally, Shadow in the Cloud is a mess. What begins as a gritty commentary on female empowerment and sexism in the air force suddenly changes to a horror and then into a comedic B-movie cheese-fest with stunts that would make The Fast and the Furious squad blush. Had the movie just stuck with the latter idea and built up layers of absurdity it may actually have become a good time. Unfortunately the film fails on so many levels that even Chloë Grace Moretz’s acting can’t save this one.
The story centers around a female World War II pilot who travels with a top secret bag onboard a B-17 Flying Fortress. It’s of utmost importance she gets to her destination too but her male comrades aren’t in the mood for pleasantries.
Between sexist remarks and belittling officers disregarding her credentials, Maude Garrett has a hard time achieving her goal. Only, when she sees a shadow on the underside of the plane, things quick take a turn for the worst… both in the film’s plot and with the screenplay itself.
Shadow in the Cloud does have a few good twists but those twists keep on twisting to such a degree that it vomits CGI silliness all over the production. What begins as a grounded, relatively suspenseful flick soon turns into an unbelievable, death-defying romp that makes it very difficult to actually get invested in the story. And Shadow in the Cloud only has itself to blame for this.
If the movie had started with less heavy-handed commentary and actually showed us this strong female in action (again, going back to that “show don’t tell” lesson) it could have been a really fun B-movie flick. In fact, all the hallmarks of the best B-movies are here, complete with cartoony physics, unintentionally hilarious one-liners and an absolutely ridiculous ending that’s designed to leave an incredulous, goofy grin on your face.
In reality, you’ll likely be rolling your eyes and wondering quite how this all went wrong in the editing room.
One great example of this comes midway through the first act. Maude sits listening on the radio as her male comrades goof around and demean her, discussing in detail how sexually attractive she is. When Maude speaks up, this continues for another 6 or 7 minutes.
Interspersed through this same segment is an introduction to the different soldiers onboard, complete with a neon-lit spotlight against a black backdrop as characters step forward and show themselves to the camera, just as their name is read out. It’s such a lazy bit of filmmaking that I almost expected a character card with traits and hobbies to pop up next to them. And that just about sums up Shadow in the Moon.
If you can go into this one and ignore the historical inaccuracies, the physic-defying stunts, poor writing, horrendous twists and clumsy editing then you may have a good time. Chloë Grace Mortez does the absolute best she can with her script but Shadow in the Cloud is a film that’s probably best kept in the shadows for the foreseeable future.