In the Shadow of the Moon (2019) Poster

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In the shadow of the mehn
xdeschuyter-014106 October 2019
Even though the plot was pretty much clear from the start, the first part of the movie was enjoyable. A certain tension, a certain nostalgia. But then it all starts going downhill until it end in the sewers. The vague ethical elements never rise above kindergarten level, the science is preposterous and the "USA is the world" assumption is tedious. The acting is decent, so is the music and lighting. Too bad, as with nearly every movie these days, the plot didn't get as much attention.
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Massive Plot Hole Shadows This Film
angelaie29 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was just okay. It was predictable and a lot of things left unexplained, but nothing unforgivable. That is, until the end of the movie. The movie logic contradicts itself within 5 minutes and expects the audience not to notice it.

First, the time traveler, Rya, tells the main character Thomas that once something happens, it always remains that way and there is no changing it. So since she was killed in 1988, she always will be killed in 1988..

Time cannot be changed, and the events will always remain the same. Then, 3 minutes later, it's shown that the apocalypse is reversing and thus never happened. Meaning time is not actually predestined and CAN be changed. So which is it, movie?!

Not only that, but this ending created a huge paradox that makes absolutely no sense. Again,the movie logic LITERALLY STATES that time is predetermined, so events will always happen. Rya will always come back to kill people, Thomas will always kill her in the subway in 1988. Which means Rya has to go back to prevent the apocalypse. Which means the apocalypse ALWAYS happens, because she got sent back. There is no stopping it. If there was no apocalypse, she never would have had to be sent back, would not have been killed, etc. This plot hole is so massive it makes my brain hurt.
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Wow that ending...
ninjawaiter2 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Even though certain elements of this film were quite predictable, I felt it was executed in a clever enough fashion to keep it entertaining and exciting. Right up until the ending, of course.

SPOILERS: As soon as I heard the serial killer was a young black woman I knew no one in PC Hollywood would dare make her the bad guy, so obviously all her seemingly random murders were going to be justified somehow. Honestly, I can't even blame Hollywood for that. Women are almost never serial killers, and because people don't understand statistics and population percentages, there is a general public perception that whites are the most likely to be serial killers. So when all the shiftless 'woke' activists with nothing better to do than protest learned there was a film featuring an evil black woman serial killer, they'd have burned the studio down (probably metaphorically). Hollywood exists to make money, and that's not how you do it. So yeah, the "twist" that she's actually justified was over before it even began, but that didn't really spoil the film. It was still interesting to see how it played out, and to try to figure out what the "justification" would be. (More on that later.)

The traveling backward through time was equally easy to figure out, right from the first sequence when we found out she had a bullet wound from a service piece but no one had fired a shot. (You have to ignore the plot holes here. They WOULD have run the ballistics, particularly on the guy who witnessed her death, whether they thought his gun had been fired or not, and they'd have figured out the ballistics matched. Moreover, that gun was the property of the PPD. When he quit or got fired, they wouldn't have let him keep it.) Moreover, the "I'm sorry about your partner," when it turned out his partner hadn't been killed was a dead giveaway that he was GOING to be killed, just in the next iteration.

There were other things, of course, but ultimately these predictable elements were still up in the air enough that the good writing kept the whole thing interesting regardless.

The problems were all with the ending of course. And not in a "I didn't like the ending so it's bad," sort of way. This film reminded me a lot of 12 Monkeys, which I coincidentally just rewatched. The ending is similarly tragic, in that the character knows how it ends and can't stop it from happening. Except unlike 12 Monkeys, where everyone knows from the start that you can't change the past, only learn from it, this film has the whole thing ass-backward.

The main character can't change the past of how things play out with the time traveling assassin, but the time traveling assassin CAN change the past of the terrible event she's trying to prevent. It's self-contradictory. Either the past can be changed or it can't. Even worse, in the assassin's timeline she learns who he is on her first trip back in time. All she needs to do in the second one, or the third, or even the fourth when it's all messed up already, is tell him who she is. But she doesn't, because REASONS. No really, there are no reasons. She just doesn't do it, because it would spoil the plot. Only the ending reveals that the plot is nonsensical for this reason, so... Yeah, that's just bad writing.

But it's worse than that. 12 Monkeys is tragic because the good guy fails, the bad guy wins, and the world as we know it ends. This movie is written to be the opposite, where the twist is that the guy we've been following is NOT the good guy- the good guy is the time traveling assassin who we have to assume succeeds in "saving the world."

But this is where it goes totally Watchmen on us. The assassin is murdering innocent people who might have somehow influenced someone else in a way that causes those other people to engage in acts of evil which in turn influence other people to engage in evil in a vicious spiral of horror. But don't lose the forest in all those trees. The assassin is murdering innocent people. Period. Full stop.

This isn't "going back to kill Hitler to prevent WWII." This is going back to kill Hitler's innocent music teacher who damaged his fragile psyche as a child by giving him a scolding that would have been beneficial to any normal child. And his innocent history teacher for instilling in him a sense of pride in German history. And killing some random radio announcer in England who said something negative about the Weimar Republic and got Hitler thinking, "I should overthrow this thing." The guy who created time travel in the film says exactly that. Anyone they have to kill to achieve their goal, no matter how innocent.

Make no mistake, these people are MONSTERS. In the Watchmen the big twist is that superheroes are just flawed people who don't always do the right thing or even agree on what the right thing is, but even in that morally relative story the real "heroes" do everything in their power to stop Ozymandias from murdering innocent people "for the greater good." They're just too late. Even then they can't agree on whether it's best to accept the atrocity and try to make the most of it or to expose Ozymandias for his horrible crimes, and to the writers' credit, the give the final word to the only guy who stands by his principles and the truth.

But in this film the hero arrives in time. He has a chance to stop the monster before all the innocents die. And he decides not to. In fact, the entire twist and tone are arranged as if we're supposed to be on the monster's side. Oh, she's murdering innocent people "for the greater good!" In that case, help yourself! Geeze, don't we feel like jerks for trying to save those innocents.

Look, moral philosophy is tough. There are no clear cut right and wrong answers or dividing lines. That's why great minds have been debating these subjects for as long as humans have been around. But if you came away from this film thinking, "Yeah, the time traveling assassin is right..." Well, I just hope you're never in any sort of position of power or public trust, because with that kind of thinking there is literally no atrocity you can't and won't justify. If you're not willing to draw the line at intentionally brutally murdering innocent people, where DO you draw the line?

So yeah, I this film was on track to receive a much higher rating until the very end when its plot fell apart with the whole self-contradictory time travel nonsense, and its tone went completely inverted with the "evil is okay if we're doing it for a good cause," thing.
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Why stuff like this will never work.
dreamup-128 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
There is a very good book "Time and time again" by Ben Elton which shows why these "time travel" kills in the past will not solve humanity's issues. You can avoid one war by killing some people in the past, but you will not avoid other wars and conflicts. And people will never be happy. Nothing will be enough. An idea of killing people in advance because they can do something bad is a first step to totalitarianism where a small group of people will decide if your future choices are good enough to let you live.

So, the time travel ideas were good. But the political/moral message is really disturbing.
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Starts off well, then steadily goes down hill
facebook-1751412 October 2019
This movie starts off with potential and has excellent production values. The cast do their jobs competently and the direction is excellent. The problem is with the story. It begins as a thriller and then leaves us with a vomit worthy message that if you don't like certain ideas, then the best way to oppose those ideas is to kill everyone who holds them. Pathetic stuff. We now live in the age of stupid.
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It's a 10! Except I'm deducting 3 for stupid plot holes, and 3 for dark evil messaging
ed-503-4651837 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This one had enough plot holes to drive a bus through, ...and a train, cruise ship, and dwarf planet or large moon.

The movie basically lays out the premise that it's a deterministic universe, where time travel can't really change the course of history, BUT it's good to murder people to try to change that which can't be changed. The writer, actors, and director literally deliver that message. But you'll have to wade through the first, second, and part of the third act to get it. So, I'm taking 3 stars off for what otherwise would be a 10 star film.

Next, it's a dark message. In order to prevent a civil war in the future, which can't be prevented, we must kill enough of the right (literally) people. Including those that inspire them. Thank God the murder is stopped in 1988 because I believe had the murderer not been stopped she'd have kept going back to kill Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, George Washington, and the rest of the founding fathers. Because America is evil, and the founding fathers' crazy ideas about individual liberty is evil. Oh and the liberal, libertarian, and conservative people inspired by such ideas deserve to be killed. You'll see examples of these 'evil books' containing these evil anti-socialist liberal ideas spread throughout the movie. So, I'm deducting another 3 stars from what would have been a 7 star movie for presenting such a dark and evil idea as good. What is wrong with Hollywood today?

That knocks this 10 star movie down to 4 stars. Which it deserves for the great acting, and professional production value. But what an awful message.
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Good beginning then downhill
ron-027773 November 2019
Started out interesting.. But then got rediculous.. Horrible ending.. Could have been much better
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Started out fantastic, the end sucked.
jimhaney-1222429 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Very on edge suspense up until the 2006 timeline, then it got boring, then sick.

Usually the murderous guys from the future are the bad guys, but we are supposed to believe that murdering a pianist, a bus driver, a fry cook, and a party goer is all okay because it stops a war/genocide 30 years in the future?

By the way: If crazy assassin chick remembers events that are stopped before they happen, ie the explosion/scary event; Then: A. Events that happen are going to happen anyway, event can't be prevented, she murders like 10 people just for the hell of it... B. Things can be changed, she can be prevented from killing all the people in the past, and all the destiny BS on the beach saying she is dead anyway are false.

So she goes through with the suicide killing spree in the hopes that the future changes... great. >:(
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bad message
naterrey-853-5039149 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Pretty good film until the premise is revealed--that it's OK to kill a bunch of people who disagree with you. There's no other option, no education, no discussion, just kill all those with "bad ideas". How unAmerican and no, the brainwashing propaganda didn't work.
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Uneventful scifi
tykjpeis20 October 2019
Movie follows a well known story. The main problem is that this story has no climax. Whatever suspense it builds up the ending craps on.

You keep hoping for some satisfying conclusion and get some uninteresting mumbo jumbo.

See the movie if there is nothing else - it entertains until the ending, but you are left with nothing.
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Interesting thriller
nicholls905-280-54691127 September 2019
It's refreshing to find a mid range budgeted thriller. The film is unafraid to attempt high concept storytelling and for the better part of the running time it works. There are some strong flaws, but if you can go with the film, you'll enjoy the twists and turns. Nice to see Netflix relying on these high concept to lure audiences, who are trapped by mega studios pumping superheroes at us. Not great, but I thought it was interesting.
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It was hard to take seriously
Penske_Material29 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The movie started out promising, but it just got worse as it went on. I can't say it was completely bad, I mean, to a certain extent, it was gripping enough for me to watch the whole thing(even though I had to pause it half way through and finished it a few hours later), but from the moment I saw this short skinny woman, easily overpowering those bigger and seemigly stronger police officers, it was hard not to roll my eyes at the movie, and when the movie ended and that wasn't explained I wasn't surprise.

I don't want to jump in the whole "political agenda" train, however, the political messages were just so distracting. It made the movie feel predictable, from the moment I saw the serial killer was a black woman, I knew she wasn't the "bad guy", I knew all her crimes were going to be "justified".

I don't know, there are reasons a movie becomes "straight to Netflix", they tend to feel incomplete, like this one, not enough was explained about how her time traveling was going to work, specially when her grandfather sent her knowing he kills her. So, why did he send her? After the "twist" I was waiting for at least one more time jump in which we found out why he decided to send his super human granddaughter back in time to not complete her mission.

It was an entertaining movie, with an obvious(even cringy) political message, no wonder it's being praised by so many websites...

If anyone cared to read my spoiler filled review and hasn't seen it, I say go watch it and give your own opinion. I thought it was OKish, the political agenda ruined it for me. I guess I ended up contradicting myself when I said I wasn't trying to jump on that train...
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I enjoyed this.
johnjkelly-3611929 September 2019
It's mid budget and reasonable acting etc. There are a lot of negative comments and some people are offended way too easily, perhaps some are looking into it way too much for faults and racism, it's fiction. There are a hell of a lot more offensive movies out there, I am 58 and white and I did not even think of any of the things that some of the overly sensitive reviewers on here so just enjoy it as the fictional movie that it is and not a propaganda movie with messages of hate.
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"In the Shadow of the Moon": Not unlike the Titular Celestial Body, a little Cheesy
jtncsmistad20 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
It's not that the new time travel domestic drama "In the Shadow of the Moon" isn't well-intentioned. It is, however, that it's far too heavy-handed and melodramatic for it's own good. As a result, the film's overarching message of deteriorating race relations and the perception of an intolerant America gets bogged down in it's own gangling gob of gooey gouda.
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First 30 minutes are masterful filmmaking
ellisscott-5796813 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
But as it goes along you can figure it all out pretty easily. I guessed who the serial killer was upon the first encounter. Not much suspense when it's given away that easily. Then there is the whole political stuff. People on here will deny that it's propaganda, but it is. I don't subscribe to left/right Hegelian dialectic stuff, but it's clear from the terminology used in the manifesto that it's a modern anti-conversative film. Words like "globalists" weren't mainstream terms back in 1988. The greatest irony of all is that time travelers are guilty of the same exact sin their adversaries are. Killing each other for their ideological differences. *slow clap* There are no good guys or bad guys here. Just a bunch of losers packaged in a slick package with an impeccable production and an amazing first half hour.
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The 1 stars are correct
bigv-5278314 October 2019
Essentially, when your motivation is to justify fascism ( hurting others that don't agree with your political beliefs) then this boring farce exists.

Netflix needs a propaganda category so they can honestly rate these and move them out of the entertainment genre.
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Virtue Signalling in a Time Machine
stephendelaunay21 October 2019
This convuluted mess of a movie is as morally twisted as the plot is. It will please those who consider it ethical to plant an ax in the head of the babysitter of the grandmother of a really bad person. If that's you... enjoy!
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Dangerous premises.
bubatd30 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I sat down and started watching this with no idea what it was about other than it was a Sci-Fi time travel thing, something that caught my attention as i love sci-fi time travel stories and i did actually enjoy the mystery of the first half of the film until it became abundantly clear that i was unfortunately watching what i can only describe as some sort of a Violent Left Wing revenge fantasy.

The premise though very loosely outlined implies through imagery evocative of 9/11 that some kind of "Right Wing" Patriot/Militia organization carries out a Terrorist attack in the future and because of this another organization in the future develops time travel so they can send a Terminator type figure back in time to whack people in an extremely violent and sadistic way. People who have committed no crimes whatsoever are sanctioned for execution because they have been found guilty in absentia for holding or sharing an idea? an idea that the future "good guys" have decided is so dangerous that they are morally obligated to go on a kill spree through time so as to prevent this idea from ever being allowed to disseminate?, yet this particular dangerous idea is conveniently never fleshed out in anyway so as to allow the viewer to decide for themselves the merits of this harsh judgement, merely vaguely implied to be on the right end of the spectrum so ergo bad.

Ill leave the glaring plot holes and paradoxes of the actual story aside and simply say that this movie has some very questionable and disturbing undertones. Its pretty difficult to refute the claim that so many have made that this movie is a rather shamelessly Left Wing partisan propaganda piece. It would be interesting to see the reaction from the same people disavowing or dismissing any kind of Political motive driving this movie if the premise remained exactly the same but the victims and perpetrators were ideologically switched. The concept of Thought-crime was created by Orwell as a warning not a political blueprint.

Ill finish by simply saying that i sincerely long for the days when i could simply sit down and watch a movie or a TV show without a political (typically left wing) sermon being rammed down my throat.
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Thought it was an interesting movie, until the end.
lillithsummers30 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Great acting, fantastic cinematic chops, initially compelling storyline. Horribly and terribly ruined the SWJ nod to bigoted views and that pre violence by a suspiciously Antifa looking hero is not only ok but to be applauded . Netflix, you are stoking the flames of violence, it is not acceptable.
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Stylized and tantalizing mix of police procedural crime thriller & sci-fi
fewald13927 September 2019
Edit: I realized only after submitting this review and getting tons of unhelpful votes that this movie has been heavily politicized and there are floods of people down-voting any positive review not for its content, but for its rating. For what it's worth, I cover the ambiguity of the movie's moral lessons in my review (that many clearly didn't read before down-voting). I happened to like that "is this really for the best?" ambiguity that ending entailed. Not once did I find this movie to be beating the viewer over the head with a political message; if anything, I found it opened one's eyes to the possibility that "for the greater good" is a flawed concept. I hate that this movie has been so politicized; as a centrist myself, I found no political slant to the movie and was surprised to hear of people wanting to boycott it. In this awful "cancel culture" waged by both sides of the political divide, I welcome movies like this that make viewers THINK. After all, if people are calling for a piece of art to be boycotted, you can be sure it has ruffled enough feathers to be a worthwhile discussion piece. So if you're a potential viewer hoping to avoid political bias, I say go into this with an open mind. I didn't find it as cut and dry as others, but then again, I'm not easily offended in the slightest.

"You're crazy," Locke says at one point when speaking to a man on one side of this moral debacle.

"I think we're both beyond the pale," the enemy replies.

THIS quote is apt, neatly laying out what I believe the true intent was for this movie. The murders committed are awful. The crimes they prevented were awful. Both sides are beyond the pale, mirroring the political divide happening around this movie's message that neither extreme can be a hero. How ironic; the controversy surrounding In the Shadow of the Moon matches its outlook. Now, on to the original review.

In the Shadow of the Moon somehow takes multiple genres and mashes them together to come up with a highly unique viewing experience that actually works. Locke is a cop on the job in 1988 when he investigates a series of mysterious murders that all happen at the same time and have multiple ties that baffle detectives and forensic investigators alike. So begins a chase over the decades involving a cop who slowly mentally degrades and a suspect who can't seem to be caught or killed. Another review stated the twist is too expected, yet they also said the movie could've been less convoluted, which sounded conflicted to me. The fact that the storyline was so complex and yet so easily understood worked well in this movie's favor, in my opinion. Because we follow the viewpoint of an investigator throughout the movie, we can slowly unravel the pieces to the puzzle alongside him so that the movie feels complete and satisfying without relying on plot holes or the convenience of confusing its audience by pulling the "because it's sci-fi!" card.

Who is Boyd Holbrook, and why the heck isn't he in more stuff? This was the first time I've seen him in anything. He did a fantastic job playing Locke. His character evolves so greatly throughout the movie, and he played each step believably and was a delight to watch. Cleopatra Coleman served her role as Rya well, but I wasn't as impressed with her usually stone-faced performance. She was believable, but she didn't stand out. Bokeem Woodbine was fantastic as Locke's partner Maddox. The sound design in this movie is outstanding, mixing distortion and music to ideally fit the mysterious but enthralling action pieces (particularly the first set of murders in '88 that are shown within the first ten minutes). The cinematography was fantastic to the point of being noticeable. This movie sucks you into its world and immerses you, its long takes allowing you time to focus on its plotline one decade at a time. In the Shadow of the Moon somehow is able to pull off multiple decades believably without relying on bashing the audience over the head with distracting nostalgia. Finally, while the movie starts out viewing these crimes as murders and ends up explaining the snowball effect leading up to them, it opens the door for philosophical questions regarding morality and time travel. I love, love, love thought-provoking movies like this.

If I have any complaints about In the Shadow of the Moon, it's that once the police thriller dissipates (as Locke becomes more deranged and isolated) and holds hands with the final sci-fi act, it slows down a little in pace. I was still glued to the screen as all story arcs began to merge and close, don't get me wrong, but the gritty city feel from the first half was so well-done I craved more and more. But looking over the movie with a critical lens, I can't see that they could've pulled it off any other way. This slowdown was necessary to the plot, and the development of both the story and the characters (particularly Locke) were handled with delicacy.

Overall, this is one Netflix movie you need to put on your queue and give a shot. Netflix has a lot of misses you have to dig through to find stuff like this. You might not love In the Shadow of the Moon as much as I did because tastes are subjective, but it is undoubtedly a well-directed and put together movie with a unique merge of genres that you owe it to yourself to try. Fantastic work, Jim Mickle. Boyd Holbrook, I'll be keeping my eye out for you in other movies. You caught my attention here.
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Hollywood Left Wing Moralizing takes a Sinister turn
billsauce-272331 October 2019
Its no big secret that Hollywood has a pretty Left wing Liberal bias but this movie really does go way too far in the inflammatory political baiting and divisiveness . What initially starts off as a somewhat entertaining Sc-Fi yarn quickly reveals itself to be something really quite sinister.

Its pretty hard to defend the central message of this movie unless you are a really fanatical Leftist or a member of Antifa. that message being that right wing views are so dangerous that its ok to kill people to stop those ides from being heard, held or disseminated . the exact ideas that are so dangerous that it justifies premeditated extra judicial murder are never adequately defined or explained just merely implied to be right wing/White and "Patriotic"

Its definitely worrying that what would not too long ago have been seen as extreme fringe political views are now mainstream offering.
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Waste of time
rajat_12430 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Expected a good murder mystery on serial killing but it's a mixed potpourri of serial killing plus time travel plus biological weapon and many more. I think director would have got confused as which way to go.. Netflix , please stop making films like this...
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Just skip this one
RJL8629 September 2019
Started out very interesting. But at the end it went downhill fast. Clearly a political agenda behind this. It promotes violence against people who have a different view.
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Globalist Propaganda
johnherringrd29 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This was a good action film with an extremely biased political message. If a person doesn't agree with your multicultural viewpoint, murder them.
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Brilliant! And all you wannabe physicists got it wrong.
TopDawgCritic8 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
For all you wannabe physicists/critics, let me put this in simple terms - multiple realities in alternate universes. The ending CAN be different from one universe to the other. Even to disagree, to psychoanalyze and rip apart (with all the 1/10's) such an outstanding production, you may as well rip apart Terminator and Looper.

Now let's talk about this brilliant film - which is meant for entertainment purposes only, not to be debated for political, sociological, scientific, ideological, or other reasons.

This is multi-talented filmmaker Jim Mickle's 5th full length feature film he's directed, and I must say, for a novice director, it was flawless - better than some seasoned directors have come up with lately. Every camera angle served its purpose. The cinematography was outstanding, editing was great, the pacing excellent, the 115 min runtime flew by (I wanted another 15-20 mins!), and the score on point.

Many complain about the writing, but considering this is Geoffrey Tock and Gregory Weidman's *first* full length feature film writing credit, they nailed it! I picked up on only a few plot issues, but everything else was written perfectly - especially coming from these newb writers. I've seen seasoned writers come up with plot and technical issues riddled throughout their screenplay. This screenplay was tactfully written to keep the viewer in suspense throughout. Seriously though, who else combines sci-fi, mystery, drama and crime, and comes up with this brilliant story?

It's a shame wannabe critics ignore the production value that went into this "B-grade" film, and the lack of experience from the filmmakers that still came up with this little gem, to give it 1's and 2's. That's just ridiculous and ignorant.

This film left me satisfied and wanting more, and I will see it again. It's an honest and well deserved 9/10 from me. And if anyone thinks this review is fake, click on my username to see my 1000+ ratings and 700+ reviews. Then go see this gem with an open mind without any perceived agenda.
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