Politics Magazine

Shadowy Clouds

Posted on the 29 November 2023 by Steveawiggins @stawiggins

Okay, so it had Chloë Grace Moretz in it, and her face is on the cover of Holy Horror.  And it was tagged as action horror.  And apart from many highly improbable situations, Shadow in the Cloud is a perfectly serviceable movie.  Part “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” part Aliens, and part Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, with any generic war movie thrown in, the movie is fun and a tribute to indy productions.  The plot is, admittedly, convoluted.  Moretz’s character (“Maude Garrett”) is a pilot officer who comes aboard a B-17 on a top secret mission.  She has a high priority parcel that must be kept safe.  The all-male crew use just about every sexist trope in the book but one of the crew takes her seriously.  While in the ball turret, she spies a gremlin.

Shadowy Clouds

This is a real gremlin, as implied in “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.”  Set in World War II, the film has other threats.  Japanese Zeros find them and a dogfight begins.  In the meanwhile it’s revealed that the one crew member who doesn’t dismiss “Garrett” had an affair with her and the secret parcel is actually their infant son.  Meanwhile, the gremlin and the Zeros keep up their attacks, killing several of the crew, including the pilot.  Maude takes charge, and oversees the crash landing of the bomber and when the gremlin, still angry at being shot and hacked by her, steals the baby.  This leads Maude to beat the gremlin to death with her bare hands.  Improbably, both her lover and baby survive intact, along with two other not too bad crew members.

The film manages to be pretty heavy on social commentary, and even shows archival footage of women in various Air Force roles during the closing credits.  The production values and the message are what really save this from being a bad movie.  I mean, this entire mission would’ve ended with everyone dead if not for Maude, driven by maternal instinct, keeping her baby alive.  She’s a pilot, a dedicated mother, an acrobat, and, if you’ll pardon the expression, a total badass.  The film is kind of a tribute to women who served in the military despite the innate sexism of the period.  And it has a monster, so what’s not to like?  From the first few minutes on there’s nothing really believable in the plot, but a woman leading the way, both as the star and as her character, is reason enough to pay attention.

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