While everyone else binge-watched The Defenders today, I...also binge-watched The Defenders. But then after that, I turned my attention to the other Netflix release today, What Happened to Monday? a dystopian science fiction film set in a future where the country has enacted a one-child policy and the main characters are seven identical septuplets pretending to be one woman.
What Happened to Monday? is directed by Tommy Wirkola, the director of Dead Snow and Hansel & Gretal: Witch Hunters, two films that were visually interesting, but meh aside from that, so it’s no surprise that the visuals are the best part of this film, too.
Noomi Rapace pulls a Tatiana Maslany and plays all seven sisters, named for each day of the week. Each sister is assigned to go outside on their day and then come back to inform the others what happened. The best parts of the movie are all the scenes where their grandfather, played by Willem Defoe, is instructing them on what to do and how they will each collectively be “Karen Settman.” Hell, the most traumatic part of the film is actually a flashback, where one of the sisters runs away for a day and accidentally gets the tip of her finger cut off...so their grandfather has to cut off the tips of all the other sisters’ fingers to keep them identical (we only see him cut off one of the girl’s fingers, but that’s enough).
The one-child act is held up by the Child Allocation Bureau, which is the predictably fascistic police force assigned to find and remand siblings. The siblings are then supposed to be “processed,” which means they are cryonically frozen until the world is fixed or something. Honestly, it’s this part of the story that’s boring and predictable, since we’ve seen it a thousand times before — every single one of the “twists” in regard to the Child Allocation Bureau I was able to predict before they happened.
The story really starts when Monday goes to work and then never comes home. The rest of the sisters have to figure out what happened to her — hence the name of the film — but they come into trouble of their own when they realize that the Child Allocation Bureau knows they exist, but instead of arresting them, they are killing them.
Aside from the flashbacks, the best scenes in this movie are definitely where Noomi Rapace interacts with herself, even if its over comms or video chat. Rapace really does pull an Orphan Black by imbuing each sister with their own personality, so it really does come off as a tragedy each time a sister is killed.
But aside from the flashbacks and the moments where the sisters interact with each other, the rest of the plot is completely and entirely predictable. If you’ve seen any dystopian film where the main character is on the run from the police, you can pretty much tell what’s going to happen. And while Glenn Close is really good in a lot of films, in this one, she’s playing the head of the Child Allocation Bureau and she just comes across as kind of boring. She’s basically playing President Snow from The Hunger Games only less interesting.
My recommendation: watch it for Noomi Rapace, watch it for Willem Defoe, and watch it for the amazing visuals. But don’t expect the plot to go anywhere unexpected.