#TIFF20: “SHADOW IN THE CLOUD”
By David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
It is World War II and WAAF officer Maude Garrett (Chloë Grace Moretz) has jumped aboard a B-17 Flying Fortress as a last minute addition. The all-male crew are hesitant to let her stay, but she has orders to fly with them and keep her classified cargo safe. They force her to ride in a ball turret below deck, isolated on her own – and her mind may be playing tricks on her with the things she is seeing in the shadows.
I want to say more, but I fear that would spoil some of the outrageous and preposterous thrills that Co-Writer/Director Roseanne Liang has in store for Moretz and the rest of the crew. Liang plays with genre conventions throughout Shadow in the Cloud’s zippy 83-minute running time, never seeming keen to stay categorized in one box for too long. It morphs wickedly from a white-knuckle claustrophobic Thriller to a full-blown wartime action picture at the drop of a bullet, and then sprinkles in some Horror elements on top for good measure. The CGI is spotty in far too many cases and the genre mashup does not always work as intended (a MacGuffin reveal is a bizarre swing that left me bewildered), but the Film is wildly-entertaining in the many instances when it does.
As long as you prepare for multiple genre swaps, Shadow in the Cloud is quite a bit of fun. While I wish the Film was not being hit with a minor controversy over its writing credits, I feel the bigger disservice is that Covid has robbed us of the experience of seeing Shadow in the Cloud at its proper haunt, Ryerson with a Midnight Madness audience. I know in my bones that they would have eaten this Film up, and I chuckled when it became obvious what and where the reactions might have been. Hopefully, it gets to play to a big crowd like that another day.
Nick Robinson (Love, Simon and Jurassic World) has a blast as a gunner on the ship, but Moretz is the one who takes hold of the screen and never wavers. She is simply marvelous in the scenes in the ball turret, really selling the anguish, fear and determination her character is going through. She is vividly-expressive in these scenes (which take up a substantial portion of the Film’s first half), and she carries them into the absolute chaos of the Film’s second half. Her wonderful balancing act more than makes up for some of the plot contrivances and the minimal character development.
SHADOW IN THE CLOUD screens at TIFF ’20 as follows:
Sat, Sep 12
Visa Skyline Drive-In at CityView
Sun, Sep 13
Online at Bell Digital Cinema
#TIFF20: COMPLETE FILM LINE-UP ANNOUNCED AT 2020 TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
By Mr. Will Wong
The complete list of Films to premiere at the 45th Toronto International Film Festival was released earlier today. More than ever, this year’s films are focused on representation and inclusion being a point of focus. We see loud and clear, movies this year about women, black people, indigenous people and people of colour.
Added to the slate are films like Kornél Mundruczó‘s PIECES OF A WOMAN starring The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby as a woman coping with the loss of her baby; Viggo Mortensen‘s directorial debut FALLING, shot here in Toronto, about a gay man dealing with his prejudiced father Emma Seligman‘s SHIVA BABY starring Molly Gordon (Good Boys) about a young woman who runs into her sugar daddy at a funeral with her family; J Blakeson‘s I CARE A LOT is about a legal conservator (Rosamund Pike) who defrauds elderly clients who has a run-in with a gangster;Cathy Brady‘s WILDFIRE starring Anne Heche, centering on a young girl who releases a dark secret in her friendship with a wild horse; Sonia Kennebeck‘s Documentary ENEMIES OF THE STATE which is about a family targeted by the U.S. government when it is learned their son is a hacker; Florian Zeller‘s THE FATHER starring Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman, centering on a man who refuses help from his daughter and his coping with aging; the Horror SHADOW IN THE CLOUD by Roseanne Liang and starring Chloë Grace Moretz, about a WWII pilot travelling with top secret documents, who discovers an evil force; and Regina King‘s ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI where we see Boxer Cassius Clay work together with Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brow to change the course of history in the segregated South. Mira Nair‘s A SUITABLE BOY is set to close the Festival.
These are in addition to some of the centerpiece films announced prior like AMMONITE, NOMADLAND, GOOD JOE BELL, CONCRETE COWBOY, BRUISED and Opening Night Gala DAVID BYRNE’S AMERICAN UTOPIA.
Canadian representation is also very pronounced with Director Aisling Chin-Yee returning with NO ORDINARY MAN, a Documentary about a transgender Jazz Musician Billy Tipton who for many years was framed as an ambitious woman passing as a man in pursuit of music career. Others include Tracey Deer‘s BEANS, Michelle Latimer‘s two films INCONVENIENT INDIAN and TRICKSTER and both Madeleine Sims-Fewer/Dusty Mancinelli co-directed VIOLATION.
On this year’s lineup, TIFF Co-Head and Artistic Director says, “This year’s lineup reflects that tumult. The names you already know are doing brand new things this year, and there’s a whole crop of exciting new names to discover.”.
Complete line-up below:
180 Degree Rule Farnoosh Samadi | Iran
76 Days Hao Wu, Anonymous, Weixi Chen | USA
Ammonite Francis Lee | United Kingdom
Another Round (Druk) Thomas Vinterberg | Denmark
Bandar Band Manijeh Hekmat | Iran/Germany
Beans Tracey Deer | Canada
Beginning (Dasatskisi) Dea Kulumbegashvili | Georgia/France
The Best is Yet to Come (Bu Zhi Bu Xiu) Wang Jing | China
Bruised Halle Berry | USA
City Hall Frederick Wiseman | USA
Concrete Cowboy Ricky Staub | USA
David Byrne’s American Utopia Spike Lee | USA (Opening Night Film)
The Disciple Chaitanya Tamhane | India
Enemies of the State Sonia Kennebeck | USA
Falling Viggo Mortensen | Canada/United Kingdom
The Father Florian Zeller | United Kingdom/France
Fauna Nicolás Pereda | Mexico/Canada
Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds Werner Herzog, Clive Oppenheimer | United Kingdom/USA
Gaza mon amour Tarzan Nasser, Arab Nasser | Palestine/France/Germany/Portugal/Qatar
Get the Hell Out (Tao Chu Li Fa Yuan) I-Fan Wang | Taiwan
Good Joe Bell Reinaldo Marcus Green | USA
I Care A Lot J Blakeson | United Kingdom
Inconvenient Indian Michelle Latimer | Canada
The Inheritance Ephraim Asili | USA
Lift Like a Girl (Ash Ya Captain) Mayye Zayed | Egypt/Germany/Denmark
Limbo Ben Sharrock | United Kingdom
Memory House (Casa de Antiguidades) João Paulo Miranda Maria | Brazil/France
MLK/FBI Sam Pollard | USA
The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel Joel Bakan, Jennifer Abbott | Canada
New Order (Nuevo orden) Michel Franco | Mexico
Night of the Kings (La Nuit des Rois) Philippe Lacôte | Côte d’Ivoire/France/Canada/Senegal
Nomadland Chloé Zhao | USA
No Ordinary Man Aisling Chin-Yee, Chase Joynt | Canada
Notturno Gianfranco Rosi | Italy/France/Germany
One Night in Miami Regina King | USA
Penguin Bloom Glendyn Ivin | Australia
Pieces of a Woman Kornél Mundruczó | USA/Canada/Hungary
Preparations to Be Together For an Unknown Period of Time (Felkészülés meghatározatlan ideig tartó együttlétre) Lili Horvát | Hungary
Quo Vadis, Aïda? Jasmila Žbanić | Bosnia and Herzegovina/Norway/The Netherlands/Austria/Romania/France/Germany/Poland/Turkey
Shadow In The Cloud Roseanne Liang | USA/New Zealand
Shiva Baby Emma Seligman | USA/Canada
Spring Blossom Suzanne Lindon | France
A Suitable Boy Mira Nair | United Kingdom/India (Closing Night Presentation)
Summer of 85 (Été 85) François Ozon | France
The Third Day Felix Barrett, Dennis Kelly | United Kingdom
Trickster Michelle Latimer | Canada
True Mothers (Asa Ga Kuru) Naomi Kawase | Japan
Under the Open Sky (Subarashiki Sekai) Miwa Nishikawa | Japan
Violation Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Dusty Mancinelli | Canada
Wildfire Cathy Brady | United Kingdom/Ireland
The Toronto International Film Festival runs September 10–19, 2020.
More here on Films and their respective Programmes.
(Photo credit: Elevation Pictures)