Look, I love mixed movies as much as everyone else. maybe more. As long as they set off with a certain confidence, it’s hard to find a balance for taking the story seriously even while blasting the rules out the window.
Or the cockpit. Most of the movie (★★★ ½ out of five; rated R; in theaters and aired Friday on Apple TV, Vudu, and FandangoNOW) is set in a B-17 bomber during WWII. But in the end it goes too far, even in the context of the story it tells. This doesn’t detract from the performance of Chloë Grace Moretz, which the movie is about. Really good, it makes the unbelievable … well, unbelievable. But palatable.
It is nothing short of fun no less than the edge of your seat.
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Moritz plays Maud Jarrett, a woman in a flying suit who makes her way onto the plane, wearing an arm in a sling and a black eye with orders to transfer a secret parcel. The male-only crew – a silly, offensive chauvinist crew – does not welcome their presence altogether.
But she got signed orders from Major that no one wanted to cross her, so they put her in a tower below while they kept making lewd sexual comments about her while she listened to the radio.
But Jarrett is tough. It’s clear that she has dealt with that kind of thing before. All you care about is the integrity of the packaging.
Then things get weird. We also knew that they would.
Liang begins the film with a short animated film training Allied Air Forces about gremlins, monsters that spoil aircraft (and the cartoon insists it is nothing more than an excuse for mistakes on the part of the crew).
What if gremlins were real? If you have ever watched the popular episode “Twilight Zone” “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” then you know that this is not the first scenario that raises or answers this question. Toxic crew jolts really think Garrett is crazy, so when you start to see not just Japanese fighter jets but on the plane’s wing, they’re acting stupid, predictable. But now she is no longer fighting their toxic ignorance.
Of course, she is right. And as one of the least retarded crew members (Taylor John Smith) said, she’s more of a pilot than any of them.
This is not a spoiler. Most parts of the movie involve Garrett fighting with one thing or the other, whether it’s shooting down planes, fending off the Gremlin, or risking her life to keep the secret package safe. “You have no idea how far I’m going.” To keep her safe, she yelled at Gremlin at one point, not kidding.
Moritz is good at all of this. A long part of the movie is just her sitting in the tower, talking to the crew as they pile her abuse up, grinding her to make sure the package isn’t damaged. It’s kind of a miniature Tom Hardy version of “Locke,” when Hardy spends the entire movie driving a car, the camera has been practicing on him the whole time. This is an amazing performance.
So on his way, he’s Moretz, but that’s a different kind of movie. However, she has to keep our attention from waning, and she does.
Ultimately, the fights raged from fantasy to absurd. You have to be prepared to take the journey up to a point to last up to five minutes of a movie like this. Even if you are, there are some real trains that threaten to totally knock you out of the movie.
Thankfully, Moretz is there to bring you back. She can’t make the idiot sublime, but in “Shadow in the Cloud” she at least makes him something worth sticking around.
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This article originally appeared on the Arizona Republic: ‘Shadow in the Cloud’ review: WWII movie Chloë Grace Moretz is crazy