Review - What Happened to Monday
By midlandsmovies, Aug 25 2017 11:02AM
What Happened to Monday (aka Seven Sisters) (2017) Dir. Tommy Wirkola
Also known as the more blatant, and ridiculous in my opinion, ‘Seven Sisters’ in the UK, comes a new sci-fi from Tommy Wirkola, the Norwegian director of Dead Snow and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.
In a montage opening we find that in 2037 the future has led to a world on the brink of collapse as overpopulation and the resulting starvation has forced global governments to introduce a one-child policy. This Child Allocation Act forces any siblings to be put into a 'sleep stasis' until the crisis has passed. However, one father (a strong as always Willem Defoe) hides the birth of his septuplet children after the death of his wife and brings them up to 'play' (and act) as one individual in the oppressive outside city.
Named after the days of the week the children learn to adapt to the one persona and the film picks up with seven Noomi Rapaces playing each of the older siblings in a technical tour de force. The second ‘star-of-Prometheus’ cloning films of the year (Alien: Covenant saw Fassbender play “just” 2 versions of himself) Rapace infuses each sister with their own personality with differing styles and costume. Far from the early Back to the Future 2 and Nutty Professor effects where actors also played multiple roles in locked-off camera shots, Rapace (and the CGI geniuses) completely immerse us in a world where the special effects and performances are seamless and the camera can wander as much as it likes.
The plot revolves around the disappearance of Monday who fails to return after a day out, with the sisters soon attempting to uncover her whereabouts. Yet before too long the illegal siblings are subsequently hunted by the authorities themselves. With elements of dark humour and a smattering of explicit violence and heavy themes, the film is held together with some twisting of sci-fi tropes but the sole praise is Rapace’s alone. With her solid performance in the truly awful Rupture, the actress had a huge amount of redeeming to do after that misstep from earlier this year.
But she does so in spades here. In addition, the film’s chases, fire-fights, explosions and shoot-outs will satisfy fans of action. Its well-constructed editing alongside fast-paced narrative and character development, help these exciting action sequences have an emotional weight that's so often missing - and also allows an audience to side with the siblings’ plight.
Again, Netflix has shown that it can (along with Okja and others) invest in original ideas that are a much needed balm from the over abundance of multiplex franchises. That said, with its themes of cloning, birth and re-birth, plus machine gun shootouts, the film has echoes of an Alien film that never was. Rapace was sorely missing from Ridley Scott’s latest and his film fails to have half the imagination shown in this lower budget film.
Not without its flaws – a slightly too long 2-hour runtime drags in the middle - the film uses its support cast well but Glenn Close as Nicolette Cayman head of the C.A.B. is menacing but somewhat underused.
However, for a fun but not throwaway thrill, you could do a lot worse than What Happened to Monday. A career high for the director and Rapace returns on a high from her earlier cinematic stinker. The film sits alongside Snowpiercer and Predestination as a trio of fantastic under-valued science fiction films that have been released under the radar in the last 5 years and one that provides an emotional resonance in a future not so distant.
Midlands Movies Mike