“In the Shadow of the Moon” proves itself a worthy watch

Driven by an incredible plotline, director Jim Mickle's creative style is on full display.

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(Screenshot from "In the Shadow of the Moon" trailer / YouTube)

Caroline Smith, Writer

If you had the chance to go back into the past and stop a civil war from occurring, would you? Released on Sept. 21, “In the Shadow of the Moon,” a Netflix original movie, provokes thoughts such as these. 

Director Jim Mickle did a wonderful job creating a moral dilemma that is unique to this movie. It combined elements of both sci-fi and drama, making the plotline unforgettable. By the end of this movie, the viewer is left to question if the ability to change the past is worth the consequences that follow because of the innocent lives it could potentially destroy. 

The movie takes the viewer on a rollercoaster ride as the story of a young cop, Tommy Lockhart, unfolds. Beginning in the year 1988, the plot develops every nine years. It starts with a scene of chaos, giving the viewer an idea of what the ending will hold. 

By choosing to do develop the plot over nine year sequences, Mickle was able to make this movie special. When it comes to time period jumps, nine years is a very unusual number. Many directors choose to either fast forward a few years into the future or a whole decade. However, this movie adapts the plot just one year shy of a decade, but the reason for doing so is appropriate. 

In this particular film, the hero and villain relationship is also abstract. When the viewer finds out the villain is actually the hero’s granddaughter, the overall mood of the movie flips. Because of this intense emotional twist, Netflix creates a distinctive form of heartbreak that no other film can inflict.

The elements of the film that place it into the sci-fi genre are very notable. Time travel is not a unique element to the genre, although backwards time travel is, especially when its sole purpose is to change the future. This aspect of the film is what hooks the viewer on the plotline because it establishes a moral dilemma that is nearly impossible to settle. 

Not only are the plotline elements outstanding but so is the movie’s cast. Each actor was able to further their character’s development by portraying a distinct personality that help evolve the overall message of the movie. The choice to replace only the actor of lockhart’s daughter in the movie is also significant. By doing so, it is easy for the audience to follow the time changes but also notice how both the daughter’s personality and relationship with her father changes.

Lockhart’s actor stays constant and so does both his character’s personality and development. However, his daughter’s actor does not, as her personality and development changes. By choosing to do this, Netflix is able to highlight a very important aspect of these characters that helps further the plot and the reader’s feelings towards the two characters relationship.

By developing in-depth relationships with each character in the film, Mickle incorporates elements of drama, in addition to the previous aspects of sci-fi. Putting these two genres together creates a captivating and intense plot, making it a film all its own. 

The sound track of the movie helps intensify the plot, as classic suspenseful music was played during all of the thrilling scenes. The music in the film helped establish it as another genre, a thriller. The audience becomes captivated by the plot through the use of various different instruments that are highlighted during each song used during climatic scenes. 

Overall, this movie is a must watch. It may not be the most critically acclaimed film, but there are definitely not many other movies out there like it.

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