Review: What Happened to Monday

What Happened to Monday
7 10

PLOT: In a future where couples are limited to one child per family due to overpopulation, seven identical twin sisters (Noomi Rapace) must all share the same, single, identity. When one of the sisters goes missing, the other six must find her before their secret is exposed.

REVIEW: Tommy Wirkola is a director that I always underestimate. Whenever I hear about a movie he’s doing, I often assume, once I hear the premise, that the idea is so silly it could never possibly add up to a good movie. Nazi zombies? Hansel & Gretel as action heroes? And now, Noomi Rapace as seven twins, each named after a day of the week? Yet, just like with his other movies, once I actually sat down to watch WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY, I was immediately sucked in to what’s a thoroughly silly, but ultimately kind of awesome, sci-fi action flick.

It’s funny that of all the Netflix original movies (the ones not acquired at festivals), this modestly-budgeted actioner is the one that’s finally convinced me the streamer can make legitimate, good enough for theaters, movies. On a $20 million budget, Wirkola’s pumped out one of the better pulp action flicks I’ve seen in a while. Ten years ago, this would have been an UNDERWORLD-style hit (before those movies started to get really bad), as it scratched a goofy itch I didn’t even know I had.

It’s funny how easy it is to accept the silly premise, with artificially grown food containing ingredients that cause a massive spike in multiple births, allowing Glenn Close’s near fascist-leader to impose a cap on family births. Any child that’s over the limit is cryogenically frozen, to be awoken once the world’s overpopulation problem rights itself. Granted, there are lots of problems with the premise (how does the rest of the world deal with this problem, and why is the action all limited to one, futuristic, city?) but you just have to roll with it.

The Rapace sisters, we learn, were born to a woman who died in childbirth, allowing the kids to be taken by their grandfather (Willem Dafoe) who hid them, and hatched the scheme where they’d all share one identity. Each sister is named for the day of the week they assume the identity of Karen Settman. Some of the best moments are in the flashback scenes where Dafoe trains them, with one gruesome scene showing how, by necessity, when one child loses a finger in an accident; he has to hack off that same finger on the other sisters to make them match.

Pretty much the entire movie rests on the shoulders of Rapace, who plays all seven twins. While their identities are essentially culled from clichés, and, in a silly move, tend to match the day they’re named for (Sunday is spiritual, Monday is serious, Saturday is a wild, blonde party girl, etc) Rapace is having a ball. She hasn’t been this charismatic since THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, and this is coming from someone who’s found many of her latest, high-profile gigs, to be dull. She absolutely fits the part, and has serious action chops to boot, with her depicting the sisters reacting during action sequences in different ways (Wednesday is a badass kickboxer, Sunday is totally useless in a fight, Thursday is just normal, etc).

Through it all, Wirkola keeps the movie chugging along, with some pretty pristine visuals, which will look great streamed in HD, and tons of action. One big, extended shoot-out/chase, where Wednesday is pursued all over the city by Close’s lackeys, is ultra-solid, as is an earlier one where the sisters have to work together to fend-off a hit-squad. Even the goofier moments work, such as the fact that, thanks to her playing seven sisters, there are numerous scenes where one Rapace dies in the arms of another.

WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY may be too tongue-in-cheek for some viewers, with reviews already decidedly mixed, but the silly factor has to be seen as a plus, not a minus. There are loads of serious blockbusters out there. This is a silly, fun one and that vibe could have only, ever, been allowed on Netflix. This is the perfect late-summer action flick to get us through the August doldrums, and a good time for all.

Source: JoBlo.com



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