Thursday, August 24, 2017

Review: Netflix releases their most exciting original movie with "What Happened To Monday"

What Happened To Monday Review

I've been writing about it all summer, and I hate to sound like a broken record. But its no secret that I have been a bigger fan of Netflix's television shows rather than her movies. They haven't had a breakout movie with the same power and popularity as its television shows. Netflix is really more known for its TV shows rather than its movies. Even though I love "Beasts of No Nation" and "Okja," it doesn't seem like everybody else who uses the app can say the same. For the most part, Netflix has been picking up movies from festivals. I like the idea, it gives little known movies a time to shine with a big audience. But neither of those movies really broke out like I hoped and Netflix original features have largely never found an audience.

I am betting that once word-of-mouth gets around about "What Happened To Monday," a science fiction film that hits closer to home. I want everybody to watch this, I hope this gets around to every Netflix user. I hope are getting no the internet to start an account, just to watch this movie. This is a kinetic, contact-high of an action movie, but with a little more. Its got something on its mind, and it was shockingly scary how much the storyline affected me.

A film critic once said the follow about science fiction: "Science-fiction films must not be afraid to be ridiculous. That's not to say that ridiculous automatically means good, only that the best science-fiction films are the ones that have a real sense of reach to them, films that are trying to do or say something, that aren't afraid to go for the big metaphor." The best science fiction films are those that aren't afraid to wear their metaphors on their sleeve, they take our culture and society and of the time and try to say something about it, dissect it, challenge it. There are many people who don't believe in climate change, and some of you may not believe in overpopulation. There is no denying it though, our population is skyrocketing. What will happen to all the rations and needs of all people when our resources are depleted? "What Happened To Monday" is set in a world where families are forced to only have one child per family. If you have more than one child, a government group takes them away, sedates them and freezes them. Only when the world is ready for more people will they be woken up. This isn't a subtle movie about what metaphors its making, and it makes its points in giant yet brilliant ways.

A grandfather (Willem Dafoe) finds out that he has seven grand-daughters who were born on the same day. The mother died giving birth, the father is out of the picture so the grandfather takes in all seven girls. Thankfully a doctor he trusts allowed him to leave with his grand-daughters. The grandfather then home schools the girls and teaches them to pretend to be the same person, the girls will take turns being the same woman. If one girl leaves, the others can't. If one of the girls breaks a finger, they all break a finger. Together as one person, the seven girls can somewhat have a normal life together.

The seven girls go undetected and eventually grow into adulthood, they have made a successful banker with the one persona they all share. Except one day, one of the girls doesn't come home. The other six daughters, all played by Noomi Rapace, giving her best performance since the original "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" series. When another one of the girls goes missing, it becomes clear that the government has found out about them. The girls begin to fight for their lives and find out how they got figured out. The movie jumps gleefully between pulsing action sequences and powerful metaphor and the movie moves a great pace. Its the perfect blend of action and genre that made my head want to spin. It feels a little like "Total Recall," mixed with a little "Orphan Black," set in a future that would make Phillip K. Dick smile. The movie aims to please, that's for sure, but it also makes you think.

Not only is it a magnificent example of pop entertainment, its also wildly ambitions. Which may be its small downfall, the amount of double-crosses and twists in the last half hour or so is enough to make you want to roll your eyes, the drama and the story that brings you to that point is so strong that it ultimately doesn't matter. 

The performances are great all around. Like I said, Noomi Rapace hasn't been this great in awhile, and I found myself drawn to each personality she creates. Willem Dafoe is used sparingly here, but he's too talented a performer to not make the most of his time onscreen. Glenn Close plays the rich villain of the movie, because in every dystopian future, we need an evil woman in the forefront. But like always, she gives a rich performance. Everyone is so good here that trying to pick a single great performance is almost impossible.

There are never too many movies out there that I can recommend on several fronts. But "What Happened To Monday" works on several levels. It works as a gritty, dark vision of the future. It works as a staggering metaphor. It works as a kick-ass, balls-to-the-wall action movie. It works as drama, and it just all around features a little something for everyone. I hope everyone gets a chance to see this. Track this one down by any means necessary. I know you'll be glad you did. Netflix, this is the type of content you need to be investing in.


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