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Review: What Happened to Monday?

What Happened to Monday? is a Netflix original film directed by Tommy Wirkola. The film stars Noomi Rapace, Glenn Close and Willem Dafoe. According to IMDb, the film’s plot is as follows: “In a world where families are limited to one child due to overpopulation, a set of identical septuplets must avoid being put to a long sleep by the government and dangerous infighting while investigating the disappearance of one of their own”.

The central idea of the film is a good one. It extrapolates our fears of overpopulation to a dramatic point and focuses in on one family who risks being split apart if they are discovered. Noomi Rapace is an excellent lead, portraying each of the Settman sisters with individuality and conviction. She does a fantastic job despite a lacklustre script. Willem Dafoe is also brilliant as the grandfather of the septuplets, imbuing a lot of depth into a role he could easily have coasted through. His character has a dark complexity but is sympathetic which is surprising. With this and Death Note, Dafoe seems to shine in films which aren’t necessarily fitting of his talents. Whenever he was onscreen, the film was at its best.

However, everything else is much less engaging. Once the plot about the Monday, the missing Settman sister really kicks in, all the originality and interest wanes away. Dafoe disappears from the narrative without any warning and the world building grinds to a halt. The film becomes an endless loop of gunfights, foot chases and hand to hand combat. This type of action can be shot and choreographed in a number of interesting ways. Countless action films are driven by a set piece structure and deliver intense thrills. Atomic Blonde springs to mind recently as a film with a run of the mill plot elevated by superb action. Sadly, What Happened to Monday? does not deliver in this respect. An intriguing and novel opening third gave way to tedium despite Rapace’s best efforts.

The final act in particular was terribly dull. However pleasing unpredictable the writer’s ruthless treatment of their characters is, the motivations of some of the protagonists become muddled. Glenn Close tries her hardest with her part but she never really raises it above cliche. While Rapace does make most of the sisters distinct and separate from one another, sometimes the visual similarities between certain sisters does get confusing.

Overall, What Happened to Monday? is a fairly run of the mill science fiction film. Despite strong performances from certain members of the cast and a world which is intriguing and detailed, this film never really comes to life. If you have an urge to watch some sci-fi, try Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams on Channel 4. It’s far more distinct and memorable.

What Happened to Monday? is available on Netflix now. Image Source: TheNerdRepository.com