Roseanne Liang’s Shadow In The Cloud is fascinating for more than a few reasons, though what ranks really high is that despite being directed and co-written (with Max Landis, which brings more than a little bit of baggage) by a woman, it comes off as somewhat condescending towards – wait for it! – women!
For me to tell you exactly why I’d have to reveal a twist that shouldn’t have been there in the first place, so I won’t (though trust me. When you see it, you’ll know).
Another odd thing is that Chloë Grace Moretz’s performance is damn good, in fact too good for this movie.
And perhaps the strangest thing of all, Shadow In The Cloud starts off pretty promisingly, as we meet Moretz’s Maude Garrett – with a decent British accent – bullying her way onboard a B17 bomber, with a mysterious case that MUST NOT BE OPENED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!
She’s, essentially, imprisoned in the gun turret for some odd reason during the flight and since she’s a pilot herself, she looks for any planes that might be following them; an important trait since the story unfolds during World War II, and attacks by Japanese fighter attacks on American bombers weren’t unheard of.
Garrett (Chloë Grace Moretz) is trapped in this turret, occasionally seeing Japanese fighters and trying to warn the crew of the B17, who aren’t too inclined to listen to her, for the brunt of the movie.
Liang and Landis had apparently been watching The Twilight Zone, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet in particular, because not only does the flight have to worry about Japanese kamikazes, but gremlins.
And to be fair that’s pretty interesting too because while the movie doesn’t explain why this creature is plaguing them, it wasn’t unheard of that pilots in World War II to complain about gremlins whenever they encountered problems with their planes (the premise is set up at the beginning with a Bugs Bunny-esque cartoon).
It’s worth mentioning that we’re spending way too much time with Moretz’s character (though as I said earlier this has nothing to do with her acting being bad more than it’s just getting tiring seeing her in the same position for so long). It also doesn’t help that there are at least five or six more people in the cast, whom we’re introduced to at the beginning, and toward the end.
So far, so good as far as Shadow In The Cloud goes, though there’s a problem on the horizon.
Remember that mysterious case THAT MUST NOT BE OPENED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES (WHICH YOU DAMN WELL KNOW WILL BE)?
Of course you do, because it literally not only ruins everything that came before, but also manages to be condescending to women at the same time, which when you think about it is an accomplishment of sorts.