As I frequently do, today I stand on the wrong side of criticism by recommending a 2020 movie that so many people have sadistically enjoyed crushing, namely Shadow in the Cloud.
The star of this female action is the beautiful young Chloë Grace Moretz, a face known for being the bloody little Hit-Girl in the hilarious Kick-Ass directed by the British brilliant Matthew Vaughn.
Here the actress has the more mature role of a soldier girl on a top-secret mission in the middle of World War II.
To deliver a mysterious crate with unknown contents as soon as possible, she gets on a flight at the last minute whose all-male crew is certainly not thrilled to have her on board.
So they lock her in the machine-gun cabin under the belly of the plane, where she remains in isolation and may communicate only through a small radio transmitter.
Unable to do anything, the girl must listen uninterruptedly to the idiocies of her male colleagues as they sneak into the skies of the fearsome Japanese enemy.
However, it is not the rival army that will be the greatest threat to this flight, as from her position, she notices a strange creature crawling on the plane with highly threatening behavior.
Fearing a crash, she tries to warn her male colleagues, who taunt her, thinking she is simply hallucinating from a nervous breakdown.
Everything changes when the creature begins to cause severe damage, and suddenly she must fight for everyone’s survival alone inside the cabin.
However, even this girl has not been honest with her colleagues, as the so-called top-secret mission for the government is actually a hasty escape with entirely personal motivation.
The surreal glory of B-movies
Starting with Max Landis‘s partly disavowed screenplay, Roseanne Liang modifies it for action, creating an adventure with a feminist soul.
In the more extensive scenes, the movie shows some limitations of a limited budget, yet the playful humor of the characters makes even the most exaggerated and unbelievable scenes enjoyable.
Indeed, we must accept some strains in the story, such as the improbable aerial combat with the fearsome Japanese Zeros.
However, when we surrender to the hilarious awesomeness of this little B-Movie, we will experience the ups and downs of emotions that are truly worth the ticket price.
I enjoyed most the part with the protagonist alone inside the tiny cabin, where the talent of Chloë Grace Moretz, who practically holds up half a movie almost by herself, is brought out to the fullest.
Regarding the more action-packed and (literally) explosive second half, I don’t have much criticism to make, and it is a pleasure to watch.
My only complaint is the creature made entirely in CGI, a monster that I think would have been more effective if realized with the old flesh-and-blood special effects on the set.
Even that is not a big problem, considering that most tension comes when we don’t see this creature and don’t know what it is doing.
Going back to the old series The Twilight Zone, this monster is an obvious reference to the crazy episode The Gremlin On The Wing, starring the superbly hallucinated John Lithgow.
However, Max Landis‘s screenplay only takes cues from the episode in its initial idea, turning the story into a high-altitude survival.
As mentioned, in 2020, almost everyone slaughtered Shadow in the Cloud, calling it a tedious and idiotic movie, while conversely, I say it has excellent pacing and is very intelligent. Who is wrong?
Pre-social era war feminism
In addition to the excellent direction and the derivative but the original screenplay, the real strength is the extraordinary leading lady Chloë Grace Moretz.
Wanting to be direct, the actress is the beacon around which everything revolves, including the rest of the male cast and the attention of the CGI monster.
Her beauty abandons the childlike naiveté of the Kick-Ass days to blossom into a sexy, strong woman who never lets men crush her.
In addition, the warlike atmosphere of World War II takes moviegoers back to the days of the famous The Dirty Dozen, where instead of the tough Lee Marvin, we have a pretty maiden whom no one wants to recognize as a soldier.
Yet over the long hours of this flight, she wins the respect of her colleagues, becoming the undisputed leader in this spectacular race for survival against an aggressive supernatural being.
I repeat that I cannot understand the many negative reviews of 2020 since it has some flaws, yet I find Shadow in the Cloud much better than most high-budget movies coming out every year.
Is it so exhausting to surrender to the fantasy into a world that doesn’t exist?
No one is saying to nominate this movie to win an Oscar as if it were a cinematic experience transcending pure entertainment.
The male characters are obviously a series of clichés that have always populated B-Movies of this genre, but this does not mean that they have nothing to say or are fodder for the slaughter.
In conclusion, if you want to enjoy this absurd is here waiting for you, just click and watch it on streaming.
Otherwise, as usual, you can join the people of those who complain regardless without giving it even a chance.