Rolling out on Netflix and in select cinemas this week is the streaming giant’s original production What Happened To Monday, a sci-fi B-movie that squanders its provocative potential in favour of a sub-Children of Men conspiracy actioner.
Set in the not-so-distant future where couples are limited to one child per family to tackle overpopulation, we meet seven identical twin sisters (Noomi Rapace), each named after a day of the week. They have managed to survive by sharing one identity, thereby dodging the military enforcers of the Child Allocation Act. However, their best laid plans go to pot when Monday disappears. While Rapace fully commits to the roles, she isn’t gifted by Max Botkin and Kerry Williamson’s script, which prefers creaky dialogue to more intriguing meditations. The screenwriters overzealously drop the F-bomb under the misapprehension that more swearing equals edginess, and their bull-in-the-china-shop characterisation of the septuplets leaves the actress stuck with archetypal caricatures along the lines of “the blonde one”, “the geeky one”, “the sporty one”…
Aside from these hiccups and the niggling suspicion that there should really be a question mark in that title (something which the German distributors have rectified, as opposed to their anglophone counterparts), What Happened To Monday isn’t completely derivative thanks to Rapace’s efforts and some surprisingly violent action sequences. However, there’s no doubt that it will quickly be buried in the Netflix movie graveyard, leaving you feeling that such a familiar yet enticing dystopian premise could have made a bigger mark if Netflix had commissioned it as a seven-part mini-series, which would have diluted its disjointed exposition dumps and galvanised the central mystery, as well as the ethical dilemmas concerning overpopulation. As it stands, it may be of interest to those who haven’t got over the TV series Orphan Black or to fans of The Boomtown Rats, who famously weren’t that keen on Monday either.
What Happened To Monday | Directed by Tommy Wirkola (US, UK, France 2017), with Noomi Rapace, Glenn Close, Willem Dafoe. Starts Oct 12.
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