Pros: The film was shot in the style of science fiction films of the 80s. last century; Overall an interesting idea with counter-plots; touching ending Cons: The main intrigue is revealed quite quickly; not particularly impressive acting; cheap special effects; a lot of logical mistakes In the Shadow of the Moon / “In the Shadow of the Moon”
Directed by Jim Mickle
Starring: Boyd Holbrook (Thomas Lockhart), Cleopatra Coleman (Ria), Bookem Woodbine (Maddox), Rachel Keller (Gene), Michael Carlyle Hall (Holt), etc.
Studios 42, Nightshade, Netflix
Year of release 2019
1988, Philadelphia. In different parts of the city, three unrelated people die almost simultaneously – an outstanding musician, a cook at a small eatery and a bus driver. They die very bloodily and in front of a large crowd of people. Police officer Thomas Lockhart, who dreams of becoming a detective, becomes involved in this investigation and, having found common features of all three crimes, goes on the trail of a serial killer… As a result of the chase, the suspect dies an absurd death and the case is archived. Nine years later, a new series of murders begins in the city, repeating the crimes of 1988, and now Detective Lockhart is again on the trail of a suspect whom everyone considers a copycat.
The first quarter of In the Shadow of the Moon, showing the murder spree in 1988, looks really interesting. It seems that the authors used a time machine and stole it from the mid-80s. a screenwriter and a mountain of props, and decided to make a fantastic detective story imitating similar films of that time. The picture, plot structure, characters, even dialogues – everything very accurately copies the films of the last quarter of the last century. It seems like this movie was made in the late 80s/early 90s and shelved for the time being. The problem is that during this period, a lot of cult films were created, the same The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (we remind you, the sixth, sorry, the third film in the series is coming out in a month), before which In the Shadow of the Moon is clearly falls short.
The idea with storylines going towards each other looks really interesting, but, unfortunately, the authors do not know how to maintain suspense at all; the solution to this riddle is given to us literally in the first frame of the film. However, one could come to terms with this if it weren’t for the huge number of logical blunders and the completely ridiculous, worthy of tabloid newspapers and conspiracy TV channels, linking the possibility of time travel to the supermoon. Anyone who didn’t skip astronomy class in high school will understand that it is simply impossible for a supermoon to occur on the same day every 9 years, not to mention any mystical influence of the Moon’s gravity on space-time.
To hell with the Moon, although the authors could have looked for simpler theories, other oddities of the film are no less surprising. There are teleporting cops here; experts who can collect a body torn into pieces and scattered over a vast area and perform an autopsy in literally half an hour; ridiculous experiments on animals, etc. And the very idea of preventing an impending catastrophe by eliminating dozens of people who have not yet committed anything vicious looks somewhat immoral. With the technology and knowledge shown in the film in hand, a simpler solution to this problem could be found.
The characters in In the Shadow of the Moon look like cliches from films from the same 80s come to life. Here’s an obsessive cop, so caught up in his work that he forgets about his own daughter. Here is a typical partner of the main character, who is always grumbling and, of course, does not want to get involved in all this crap. Here’s your typical jerk boss who really isn’t that bad of a person and just wants to do the right thing. Etc. and so on.
By the way, the actor who played that asshole boss is none other than Michael Carlyle Hall, star of Dexter, who is simply unrecognizable here. And, perhaps, this is the only famous actor in In the Shadow of the Moon. The remaining performers have appeared in a number of interesting projects, but have not yet shown anything outstanding. You could see Boyd Holbrook, who plays detective Lockhart, obsessed with finding the serial killer, in the series Narcos on the same Netflix, Cleopatra Coleman in the sitcom The Last Man on Earth on Fox, and Bookem Woodbine in the second season of Fargo. I can’t say that the work of any of the performers impressed me in In the Shadow of the Moon. Boyd Holbrook tries to show Lockhart’s madness, but for some reason you don’t really believe in him, while the roles of Coleman and Woodbine are generally extremely straightforward.
Well, Netflix once again failed with science fiction, as well as with feature films in general. In the Shadow of the Moon is a fairly passable movie with a fantastic plot stitched together with white threads, however, the ending here is quite touching, although, again, calculated. Not great, not terrible – as a movie for the evening, especially in the absence of high-profile premieres on the big screen, In the Shadow of the Moon might do just fine.
A passable science fiction detective story that could have been made thirty years ago