Shadow of a Woman Review

This film is definitely more annoying than it is suspenseful. Mainly a film like this revolves around the lead being completely incapable of taking any definitive actions in order to keep going. That just means that the plot is really weak if you ask me. The movie has quality writing and there’s a lot going on but the story just doesn’t hold up because any reasonable character would have done some things way differently and that would have been the end of it. Over half of this film would have just been thrown out the window and you could even argue that 99% of it would end if the main character didn’t just jump into things at the start.

So this film starts with Brooke deciding to marry a guy named Eric that she barely knows. She knows that he’s a doctor but that’s about it. She allows herself to get swept up in the moment and marries him but why all the rush? That in itself should have been a red flag and then things only continue to get worse. First off, he’s not quite as well off financially as he had led her to believe. Someone tries to murder him by crushing him with a boulder initially and then someone else shoots at him later on. In each instance he tells Brooke that she’s imagining things or that it was someone hunting buffalo and she just takes this. What should have been the last straw is that he then says they have to live at his family’s place even though she has a perfectly acceptable home that they could have been in. Now she is an unwanted guest here and the tensions continue to rise. Is there something shady about this Eric fella?

The amount of suspension you have to put your belief through here is absolutely crazy. Why is Brooke willing to sacrifice so much of her life for someone that she barely knows? It just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever and that’s my main problem here. He continues to stack the deck against her and gets upset at her awful quick but Brooke just doesn’t put the pieces together. I’m not sure which moment is more drastic, Eric being shot at or his insisting they live at a place where nobody likes her. Either one should have been enough for her to keep her distance or at least stay in her home and insist he goes to her. Instead Brooke keeps trying to stick with it.

Now if they were married for ages and things had been going great then I could appreciate the loyalty here but instead it just feels like she is letting him walk all over her with no real resistance. Instead of being admirable it just makes her look weak if you ask me. Especially when his excuses are so weak. He spends the whole film constantly telling her that she’s crazy and seeing things and she just accepts this. It isn’t until the very end of the film where she starts to stick up for herself and by then it’s very nearly too late. So yeah I didn’t like Brooke. She may not be an antagonist the way that Eric is but she makes the job way too easy on him the whole time. If she had done just about anything then things wouldn’t have turned out the way that they did.

For example one thing Eric is doing here is starving a child as he hopes that the kid will die off and then he can claim the insurance money. I feel like you have to call the cops or child custody services immediately but Brooke sits on her hands for a while here and just doesn’t do anything. I suppose she feeds him her breakfast once but that’s more of a passive resistance. I want to see her actually doing something bold. She finds out he had another wife, that he’s using her to win a court case, etc. The twists and bad news just keeps coming in over and over again and she still doesn’t do much. Eric even tells her to stop seeing her doctor friend since he’s the only doctor she could ever need. Ah man.

Yeah this was an annoying one and it gets more annoying the more I think about it. Eric isn’t even a mastermind or anything because this plan should never have worked. The fact that it got this far is more of a strike against Brooke than it is a complement to his strength. His family is also afraid of him to the point where they keep his secrets and act as antagonists. I mean they even drug Brooke although the heroine forgives them rather quickly. They were just so spineless that they also end up being really bad characters here. They let Eric manipulate them for quite a long while and that’s another problem. Everyone just lets him do what he wants and they make the worst decisions possible.

One client of Eric’s seems to start to realize that he’s a scammer but she only works things out halfway. So she accuses him of all kinds of stuff and says she will wreck his career…but then she gets drunk and asks him to take her home. Lets just say she didn’t survive this ordeal and the whole thing makes you roll your eyes. How can you threaten someone and then trust him with your life? Throughout the film Eric actually bumps off quite a few characters and it’s not like he’s a super tough fighter or anything. Everyone just comes across as massive suckers the whole time so there’s not a whole lot that he needs to do.

Apparently it is well known that he is a scammer too but unfortunately there are enough people who don’t realize this that makes it tricky. There are always more people for him to trick after all and that’s always unfortunate. He gets away with a whole lot for a very long period of time and nobody could touch him. At least with the court case eventually the lawyer was going to defeat him but it was just taking way too long. I still think a quick call to the cops would have saved a great deal of time. The lawyer also got really lucky that Brooke talks a lot. Yes by the end there was a conscious effort to help him out but for part of the film Brooke was wrecking Eric’s plans accidentally with her outbursts which wasn’t as cool as it could have been. I wanted to see her as an intentional saboteur, not someone accidentally stumbling into success.

Overall, This film can be rather suspenseful but the characters really hold it back. It doesn’t come across as a very smartly written film and is instead one where everything just happens to turn out well for the villain because nobody can think ahead. If they actually made the right decisions then Eric wouldn’t have gotten nearly as far as he did. Ultimately you have to be able to stick up for yourself when the going gets tough and you also have to trust yourself. If someone tells you that you’re crazy then you have to believe your mind over that person. Things could have been so different here if Brooke was just a tough character. It’s not a bad movie but I would recommend most other suspense type films over this one. You’ll just be rolling your eyes too hard half the time at all the mistakes that are being made and it goes without saying that the romance is quite weak as well.

Overall 5/10


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