“In the Shadow of the Moon” is a Political Misfire

Wrapped in Current Events Doesn’t Guarantee Success

By: Salvatore Cento

Boyd Holbrook and Cleopatra Coleman stand out in this blurry feature. Credit:

In a world where netflix original movies are a dime a dozen, the best possible genre to stand out among these would be the ones that dab into science fiction. Just look at “Rim of the World” or “Bright” for instance.

Released on September 21st, “In the Shadow of the Moon” begins in that category. There’s time travel, futuristic capabilities, and a dooming apocalypse. But where this movie ends, that’s the biggest problem.

A hint of this could be seen at the start. Amongst the rubble of a destroyed United States, a burning American flag ripples in the wind.  

Starring Boyd Halbrook as police officer Thomas Lockhart, Cleopatra Coleman as Rya and Michael C. Hall as Holt, “In the Shadow of the Moon” is about a police officer who after nine years, comes across the same criminal killing people the same exact way once more. The catch is, all those years ago, he saw the offender die right in front of him.

Mix all that I’ve just told you together and the project has something going. As with all recipes though, you can’t have an amount of one ingredient heavily outweigh another. 

But that’s what happens here.

The logic based realities of the characters mix with the at times, literal dark lighting. The setting and the scenery are shy, never letting out too much detail. 

The main character’s emotional arc runs parallel with the overall feeling the movie gives out.

But the one element that does not have a fitted connection is the overwhelming political message that “In the Shadow of the Moon” has. Without spoiling too much, one of the biggest issues we face today is the main reason why Rya is time traveling and killing one person here and there. 

To stop a much bigger, disastrous outcome from happening.

By herself, Rya is a very interesting character. Throughout the entire movie, a blue hooded jacket is her clothing of choice. 

She cuts her words short and lets her actions speak for themselves. Her means of entering different years is alluring, if not suspenseful.

The acts of going forward in time were paced well enough. Simple number on a black screen. And then to polish that off, a television was always used to show what was going on in society at the time.

The scenes of Lockhart interacting with his grown daughter were the only ones that I found myself looking away from and interested in something else that was happening off-screen. When it comes to movies, I can genuinely say that I rarely do that. But they just didn’t mesh.

Once again, for the movie to say that such an issue can bring about the end of the world is preposterous. This driving force casts a shadow over everything else that is happening, good or bad, especially when the writers seem to imply with book covers that the first leaders of this great nation should be coupled with those that seek to harm the citizens of the same country. 

Sure, I’m open to ideas. But to say that those who led us also wanted to destroy us is wrong. 

The film is implanting seeds into people that would lead them on a more hateful path than before. That is exactly what this movie wanted to be the opposite of.

As we all can see, Netflix loves to push boundaries with it’s creations: “House of Cards,” “Sabrina The Teenage Witch,” even the cartoon, “Big Mouth.” But to twist a whole genre to deliver a message; an influential and impactful message, is just to gain cheap recognition.

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