Shadow in the Cloud

We are kicking off 2021 virtually and not in the theater. With any luck, the theater experience will feel less dangerous as the year progresses. Until then, as long as we continue to get the home releases on streaming, I’ll be happy.

That first release of 2021 is going to be Shadow in the Clouds, starring Chloë Grace Moretz as a WWII pilot Maude who has joined the plane crew of a B-17 Flying Fortress with a mysterious package and an unrevealed mission. As the plane is heading to its destination, there are some major conflicts that come into play endangering everyone on board.

First of all, this film has about three genres that totally crash together into the oddest amalgam of a film that I have seen in a long time. Originally, Shadow in the Cloud felt as if it were taking us in one direction, only to ram us into a different one. When the film took a turn toward Fast-and-Furious-type physics, I have to admit that I had no idea what I was watching.

It’s not really a spoiler since it was in the trailer, but I will label it so in case anyone has not seen the trailer. SPOILER. The movie suddenly goes from a crew questioning the reasons and motivations for Maude to be on the flight in the first place to an appearance of an actual gremlin on the wing of the plane causing malfunctions to the engines. It was a bizarre tone shift from what we had seen up until that moment and it did feel jarring. END of SPOILER.

Chloë Grace Moretz turned into a gigantic action star too, executing a couple of maneuvers that Dominic Toretto would have said were implausible. You absolutely have to suspend a whole bunch of disbelief to accept some of the physical stunts going on here. Still, it was a lot of fun in a shake-your-head kind of way.

The reveal of what was in the package was a huge unexpected reveal as well. That was not what I was expecting and the fact that the film was not afraid to do it speaks well of it. Honestly, it felt like the film drew a whole bunch of random plot points out of a hat from multiple genres and had to put them all together in the movie. Strangely enough, it worked.

The third act confrontation in the river was oddly satisfying and really kind of funny.

This was a mishmash of all kinds of types of movies and it was surprisingly entertaining. Moretz is great in the role, no matter what character type she was playing. Truthfully, she was like four different characters all rolled into one. The action was well done, if not completely insane and you certainly never see things coming.

Not a bad start to 2021.

3.4 stars

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