Film Review: Shadow (2022) - Australia 🇦🇺
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia 🇦🇺)
One of the beautiful delight of the bittersweet and dark Australian film about the gathering of a group of intellectually disable activists speaking about their rights and how so-called “normal” humans perceive them as often inferior species. This is made all the more damning with the notion of AI technology monitoring and moderating the discussion. Directed by Australian BrianGladwin based on the award winning stage production - The Shadow Whose Prey The Hunter Become, the 56 minutes film focus on real emotions and the raw acting of real people with intellectual disabilities and how they interact with others, society and technology.
As “Bladerunner” noted in 1980s, where androids are considered “more human than humans”, this film portray a similar message with a more subtle approach. The film grows onto the audience thru genuine interactions by the characters. Perhaps most damning moment comes when we realise how these people feel the “normal” people are treating them will soon be realised with AI becoming smarter than humans and thus we are all of lower intellectual ability and in other words become “slaves”. These are all dark messages that plays on our own fears of technology as much as rely on it with utter trust.
Even within the acting, Simon (Simon Laherty), Scott (Scott Price), and Sarah (Sarah Mainwaring), three activists with intellectual disabilities, shows how their own interactions displace a prejudice, simply because of gender. The film touches on many social issues and concerns that are often kept under the carpet in society day to day conversations. It’s beautiful that director Brian Gladwin decided to showcase a story that is often hidden and untold.
All in all, “Shadow” is a rarity of an Australian film that challenges the genre conventions and writers Michael Chan, Mark Deans and Gladwin are all to be commended on such a realistic dialogue on display as the story plays out the dark message in its finale. The cinematography is also well thought out with contrast in lighting by Rhian Hinkley emphasising on the film title “Shadow”. Beautiful and well meaning Australian film that deserves a larger global audience.
I rated it 8/10