It’s hard to discuss Shadow in the Cloud without giving it all away. On the surface, this is the story of a female WWII pilot who mysteriously embarks a plane seconds before its take off, with nothing but a heavy briefcase containing top-secret documents that are not to be opened under any circumstances. From this apparently simple premise, director Roseanne Liang creates a frantic action wonder so confident in its style that it makes ninety minutes feel like ten. 

Moretz delivers a career-best as fierce pilot Maude Garrett, a character that embodies the thousands of women who bravely fought in the War but merited little recognition in comparison to their male counterparts. The young actress makes the most of the narrative structure she is given in the first half, gulping the camera’s attention with sheer eagerness while interacting with only the voices of her fellow cast members. When her veil of patience falls down, Garrett turns full Sarah Connor, a blasting powerhouse of badassery. 

Instead of relying on layer after layer of big-budget technological gimmicks, Liang craftily employs the anxiety of claustrophobia to amplify the feeling of incoming danger. Senses are heightened as even the quietest of noises triggers paralysing dread. When the special effects finally hit, it’s hyperbolic bliss – more is more is more. With no breathing room, a full exhale is only allowed when the credits roll.

Shadow in the Cloud is deliciously fearless, a blast of constant entertainment capable of exciting even the most indifferent of viewers. Luckily, Liang’s thrilling feature got a meaty distribution deal at Toronto, which means soon enough this future cult darling will get its due on the big screen. This is one of those that truly deserve to be seen in the company of a full-house.



CAST:  Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Callan Mulvey 

DIRECTOR: Roseanne Liang

WRITERS: Max Landis, Roseanne Liang 

SYNOPSIS: A female WWII pilot travelling with top-secret documents on a B-17 Flying Fortress encounters an evil presence on board the flight.