A small group of activists meet to discuss threats to the world. Simon (Simon Laherty) calls himself the mayor of the group, and throughout the meeting, he attempts to make sure everyone is heard and gets along. Sarah (Sarah Mainwaring) and Scott (Scott Price) are also by Simon’s side. Sarah often feels pushed aside or ignored, and Scott will gladly voice his opinions loudly to ensure he is heard. Sarah and Scott often disagree and become frustrated by each other’s opinions. Most of those who attend the meeting, including Simon, Sarah, and Scott, have a disability. A leading journalist also sits in on the meeting to watch the discussion.
Right from the get-go, Shadow feels like a stage play coming to life. This is also because the film is based on the Back to Back Theatre’s stage production of The Shadow Whose Prey The Hunter Becomes. Many aspects are clever and highly creative, especially the way the messages and the vast depth of information are communicated. Joining the on-screen cleverness is the dynamic and stunning music by the Luke Howard Trio (Luke Howard, Daniel Farrugia and Jonathan Zion), which keeps the pace moving at a fast rate and supports the movie with jazz tones.
While the film carries a short runtime (under one hour), I was surprised to find there is so much to unpack here and repeat viewings may be required for some (including myself). The film and its leads have so much to say and introduce ideas and concepts that many viewers have perhaps never considered. On top of that, there are ideas here that are both alarming and concerning. Once the leading characters make their case to the audience, it’s impossible not to let all the information linger in your mind.
Shadow takes a hard look at the past, present, and future with a focus on the future, particularly technology and AI. The film is transparent with its questions, asking viewers “What if machines started to speak down to us as if we were the ones who were unwise?”. We are given plenty of data and statistics around technology and those with disabilities, which is again saddening and alarming. Still, it also makes this feature highly informative, which I appreciated.
Overall, Shadow will leave its audiences thinking profoundly and silently. It’s a factual film with heartbreaking data and hard-hitting questions that are downright impossible not to consider or ponder further as the film concludes. A stage play brought to life on the big screen, Shadow delivers strong performances, solid creativity to communicate its messages, and factual data. Thanks to the Luke Howard Trio, the soundtrack enhances the what’s happening on screen. In the end, Shadow is a film that I found to be unexpected, and it delivers an experience and journey that’s both memorable and impacting.