Netflix’s In the Shadow of the Moon plays smart tricks with time

Image: Netflix

Welcome to Cheat Sheet, our breakdown-style reviews of festival films, VR previews, and other special event releases. This review comes from the 2019 Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas.

One of the chief joys of the time travel subgenre is strictly mechanical: it’s all about the ways nonlinear characters let creators deconstruct a standard narrative, bringing different segments of the story together in unexpected ways. Construction-oriented movies like Timecrimes or Predestination scramble the order of the pieces on-screen, bait viewers to guess why certain things happen, and then slowly fit those pieces together into a startling whole.

But the same thing can be done in movies without time travel, like Memento, where the audience just…

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