While back in the day I was never much of a fan of the FMV game fad that accompanied the explosion of access to CD drives back in the day I’ve actually been a moderate fan of the recent resurgence of the genre in this generation. When handled properly, and backed by the right story and acting, it can work almost seamlessly and provides a sort of interactive movie feel that’s unique. I Saw Black Clouds, regrettably, I wasn’t so enamored with, a few major problems in particular standing out. For one thing, the illusion of seamless transitions is shattered not just by what feels like longer delays than usual but by poor decision-making in composing the cuts that are meant to be assembled. Background music and other issues that have poor prospects of lining up well really wreck the experience by feeling disjointed, making it feel more like those old days. More critically, though this criticism is more personal as a parent of two children with different challenges and one of whom has had struggles with suicidal ideation, is that its use of suicide and people with impairments feels cheap and reductive. In particular, pretty well opening with a depiction of suicide smacks of “shock value” when the story and overall arc of things could easily have been handled after the fact without it needing to be seen. On multiple fronts it comes through as a clumsy effort and the payoff of enduring it all isn’t enough reward to excuse some lazy characterizations that got you there.
Justin Nation, Score: