Movie Reviews Reviews

In The Shadow of The Moon Is A ‘Timely’ Time Travel Movie With Political Allegory

Netflix's timely murder mystery time travel film has a lot to say about current events. Will we listen?

Last week Donald Trump tweeted that his impeachment “will cause a Civil War” from which the country might never recover. Echoing remarks made by evangelical pastor Robert Jeffery on Fox News, he didn’t say impeachment might lead to electoral losses for Democrats or mass demonstrations from aggrieved Trump voters.  He said, “civil war.” Americans taking up arms against other Americans.

Such sentiments are the stuff of right wing militias’ wet dreams, with a leading one, the Oath Keepers, declaring after Trump’s tweet, “we ARE on the verge of a HOT civil war. Like in 1859. That’s where we are. And the Right has ZERO trust or respect for anything the left is doing. We see THEM as illegitimate.”

The Oath Keepers, who see themselves as an anti-government “patriot” group, believe this day is imminent, and are constantly seeking evidence of a Deep state conspiracy to support their political beliefs.

In the ‘timely’ Netflix original movie Shadow of the Moon, this very scenario plays out as a time traveler seeks to prevent the second American civil war. During the course of the film a question is posed that foreshadows coming events: “Imagine you could erase the first American civil war, how would you do it? Would you kill Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee… all the confederate and union leaders? That might not be enough to erase an idea. Maybe you’d have to kill the people who made them who they were, who gave them their moral and  political beliefs. Friends, fathers, mothers, grandparents. How far back would you have to go to snuff out the spark that lit the fuse? If you eliminated the right combination of people – one by one – until you got to the one that undoes it all, you could reshape the future.”

Hmmm….

The movie begins in 1988 Philadelphia. Two cops, Lockhart and Maddox, are investigating a series of bizarre deaths. After finding their suspect, a mysterious young woman, Lockhart accidentally kills her while attempting to apprehend her. Nine years later the killings begin again, and the suspect looks oddly similar to the woman that died nearly a decade prior.

Though the time travel elements are revealed early on (and are almost easy to figure out), it’s the mystery surrounding the murders that hook you.  You’ll quickly realize the killer is trying to change history as the movie keeps jumping forward in time every 9 years or so but you won’t be quite sure why she is or who she’s working for. During those time passages, we see events from Lockwood’s life unfold and take physical and emotional tolls on him. Of note, and key to the movie, is the deterioration of his relationship with his daughter Amy. Why that relationship breaks down is only implied, and not revealed until close to the end of the movie.

As is the case with most time travel movies, In The Shadow Of The Moon ends with an emotional event that will have you thinking ‘why didn’t I see that coming?’ More importantly, though, you DO see the tragic events the time traveler is seeking to prevent  – both in the movie and in our reality. The question we’re left with is how do WE prevent them?

About the author

Joey Davis

Joey is a former rock star, former DJ, comic book & political historian, and novelist who once read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlocked the secrets of the universe.

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