Starring: Noomi Rapace, Glenn Close, Willem Dafoe, Marwak Kenzari
Directed By: Tommy Wirkola
Plot: In a dystopian future, our planet has become overpopulated, and our food sources are running out. So we create GMO foods, which cause a lot more multiple baby births, again booming the population. So, a law is passed, and no one is allowed to have more than one child. No siblings. There’s a program that captures unlawful siblings and “cryofreezes” them. Except one man (Dafoe) has managed to hide his seven identical twin granddaughters from the government for 30 years. Named after the day of the week they get to go outside, they all assume one identity as Karen (Rapace). But when Monday goes outside on her given day and doesn’t come home, the other six sisters must band together to find out “what happened to Monday?”
What Works: I was drawn in by this concept. I think this film started as a really great elevator pitch, which evolved probably into a really good treatment, which was handed to someone who made a good screenplay, which then was handed to a director who made an OK film. As the idea was expanded upon, we realized that sometimes there’s a really good idea that strains itself when made into a feature length movie. The idea of seven girls living one life, each getting to go out one day a week… that’s a cool TV series. Of course, Noomi Rapace does good work. You almost have to immediately commend any actor even attempting to play seven different characters just for attempting the feat. She actually does a pretty good job. Not to spoil things, but the film dumbs down and marginalizes enough that she doesn’t even really have to make them seem all that different. It focuses heavily on a few sisters, leaving some others not enough time to be developed as characters, but rather recognized by the way they dress or wear their hair. In a brief supporting role, Dafoe has some really great scenes. Close is also effective here as the villain (the second time I’ve seen her in a film this year that no one else has seen). Markwak Kenzari rounds out the main cast, and I’m fairly positive this guy is Oscar Issac’s doppleganger. Issac is a better actor, but this guy is sufficient. Overall the film was directed well, and looks OK. At times, it has that “blue haze” look we’ve grown to want to have in dystopian films, but it fortunately doesn’t overuse that. It’s mainly when people are outside, like they live in an area where the sun never comes out.
What Doesn’t Work: It’s almost like someone came in and said “this film is too smart, dumb it down.” Suddenly you feel every plot device. You feel every little piece of evidence that it placed down for the big “twist” at the ending. It helped me see the ending coming from a mile away, because everytime something happens, it’s in this very “look at me” kind of way. However, I will say, there was one twist that I didn’t see coming, but it was only a part of the larger ending, and not the ending itself (which I did see coming). It’s mostly the heavy handedness in the dumbing down of a rather intelligent concept that bothers me the most. When I was able to figure out “what happened to Monday?” and there was still an hour left in the film, you lose a lot of points. Also, that’s not how microwaves work. Fuck you, ignorant fucktards. I literally took a whole grade off for that. Like, I had this at a B, then I remembered the microwave scene, and I went down to a B-. There’s a scene where a character puts a bunch of aerosol cans in a microwave and starts cooking them. Of course, instead of exploding randomly when the cans reached the point of explosion, it waits till the time on the microwave runs out. That’s not how that would have happened, and it didn’t add any dramatic effect to the scene whatsoever. It was just really stupid.
Final Word: A lot of dumb things happen in a film that actually has a very good core idea/concept. I think this might have worked better as a TV show, as we would get to really know each character move over the whole season. Noomi Rapace does good work here, as do the supporting cast. For the most part, the pacing is fine, and you’ll find yourself sticking with it just to make sure you got the ending right (you probably will). Not a bad way to spend two hours.
Final Grade: B-