“Shadow in the Cloud” (REVIEW) An Odd Blend of… Everything

A review of the new adventure/thriller SHADOW IN THE CLOUD starring Chloë Grace Moretz from director Roseanne Liang.



Synopsis

In the throes of World War II, Captain Maude Garrett (CHLOË GRACE MORETZ) joins the all-male crew of a B-17 bomber with a top-secret package. Caught off guard by the presence of a woman on a military flight, the crew tests Maude’s every move. Just as her quick wit is winning them over, strange happenings and holes in her backstory incite paranoia surrounding her true mission. But this crew has more to fear…lurking in the shadows, something sinister is tearing at the heart of the plane. Trapped between an oncoming air ambush and an evil lurking within, Maude must push beyond her limits to save the hapless crew and protect her mysterious cargo.

Directed By

Roseanne Liang

Written By

Roseanne Liang & Max Landis

Starring

Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Beulah Koale, Taylor John Smith



Director’s Statement

My favourite filmmakers are the ones that hold out a hand, look me in the eye and say “I want to take you on an unexpectable journey. It might get weird in there. You might feel like you’re falling but don’t worry – I’ve got you.” Assured, motivated, unpredictable – that’s my catnip. Combine that with soul, meaning, connection – that’s me in a puddle of happy cinephile tears. I made SHADOW IN THE CLOUD because I wanted to see if I could find that sweet spot between fun, heart and spectacle.

Empowerment is often portrayed on screen as a quest for our most noble traits – wisdom, honour, morality. For Flight Officer Maude Garrett, empowerment comes through holding her tongue, judicious fibbing and – quite frankly – some pretty terrible decision-making. Garrett wings it with varying degrees of success, and I love her for it. Her strength is imperfect, and I can relate. How do we find respect and dignity when we are forced to exist in spaces where we are afforded none? We improvise.

I couldn’t have asked for a better co-conspirator than Chloë Grace Moretz. Having made 60+ films since the age of 6, Chloë wields preternatural skills of precision. She learns complicated fight sequences in minutes. She performs 12 pages of dialogue in a single take. Most importantly, she is a passionate storyteller. She interrogated Garrett’s motivations with forensic focus. As a director, it’s a dream to work with an actor whose creative instincts are so finely honed.

Servicing the illusion of a World War II bomber in flight became a dastardly technical VFX and SPFX challenge. Even though this was a genre film not 100% bound by historical accuracy, we still wanted to viscerally honour the legend of the B-17 bomber. The SPFX team designed hydraulic sperry controls for Chloë to be able to move herself. The fuselage of our set was built on a boat-like hull, so that we could rock the whole plane. The entire cockpit was put on a rolling, 360 degree barrel rig. VFX-wise, we had to consistently keep track of the rotating ‘cage’ of the sperry in 3D space and multiply the view outside the windows as the sun rose in our storyline. The VFX shot lists ended up looking like scientific charts, covered in eye-squinting numbers that annotated rotational angle, tilt angle, altitude and directional sector outside the window. When I was at film school, my parents insisted I also do a computer science degree “just in case” it didn’t pan out. Thank you mum and dad?

The genre cocktail of SHADOW IN THE CLOUD was synergised with bold music choices and sound design. Right from the beginning I knew I wanted a mechanically inspired, 80s synth, witchy-rebel-punk-spirited musical palate, but our team took it to another level. The tonal tightrope depended on the right sounds with the right rhythm, in the right balance. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the result.

SHADOW IN THE CLOUD is about the astounding well of grit and strength in all of us, and the triggers that unleash our inner god/goddess. Morally, thematically and emotionally, SHADOW IN THE CLOUD is a story that I’ve had the good fortune to tell from my heart. I hope people can trust me to take their hand, and lead them happily, heartfully, through the unexpectable. – Roseanne Liang


Shadow in the Cloud (2021) Vertical Entertainment & Redbox Entertainment
Shadow in the Cloud (2021) Vertical Entertainment & Redbox Entertainment

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