What Happened To Monday (2017) Review
Tough and gritty action thriller is a dark look at the future.
What Happened To Monday is a 2017 sci-fi thriller about a world where families are limited to one child due to overpopulation, and a set of identical septuplets must avoid being put to a long sleep by the government while investigating the disappearance of one of their own.
Noomi Rapace is a fearless actress, her films, one by one, showcasing her commitment and range with a long list of acclaimed performances. With Tommy Wirkola‘s What Happened To Monday, she perhaps has her most challenging role yet, or rather, seven roles in a new sci-fi thriller that is certainly a clever puzzler as well as a twisted thriller.
In the near future, growing populations have exhausted resources and governments take drastic actions, experimenting with modified foods and the implementation of the Child Allocation Act, forcing families to have only one child. All other siblings are cryogenically frozen, with the promise to be awakened when the world is more stable. The program is run by Dr. Nicolette Cayman (Glenn Close), a totalitarian with plans of her own. Meanwhile, Terrence Settman (Willem Dafoe) loses his wife in childbirth when she has septuplets and a sympathetic doctor hides the truth. Settman creates an ingenious plan to keep the seven girls – now named after each day of the week – from CryoSleep by raising them in secrecy, training them to be individuals while indoors and the same person, called Karen, while outside, sharing information at the end of the day to stay in sync. Years later, as adults, the plan is running smoothly until one night, Monday doesn’t come home.
The start of What Happened To Monday is a familiar one, the premise of overpopulation and the unjust measures governments take to fix it one seen a few times in movies. Admittedly, given today’s cinema climate, it almost feels like yet another young adult franchise kicker with a dystopian feel, sketchy adults and a slew of young kids ready to save the world, but the film goes in a whole other direction fast once Monday up and disappears. Wirkola, whose Dead Snow zombie movies earned him plenty of praise and fans, knows how to do action and there’s plenty of it here, much of it tough, bloody, and gritty.
Despite the excellent set pieces and terrific direction, the film survives on the work of Rapace who creates seven highly-distinct characters, each so complete it’s easy to forget that it’s all one actress on screen. While she runs the spectrum of personalities, they all feel authentic and lived in, with Rapace generating genuine sympathy for each. It’s stirring to watch. That’s not to say the story is weak because there are surprises, even as the movie pads out the wait with lots of hide and seek. There’s a few tropes in play of course, perhaps a necessity of the genre, but Wirkola gets around them well enough and puts great weight on the characters as well as the action. While Close and Dafoe don’t have much screen time, their presence is strong and more importantly, feel legitimate, something that, especially with Close, could have been wasted.
What Happened To Monday is far-reaching sci-fi and with close inspection teeters close to absurd but it’s entirely saved by the filmmakers commitment to the premise and great work from Rapace. It’s an easily digestible action flick with some jarring moments that raise it to places it seems at first unable to reach.
What Happened To Monday (2017) Review
Movie description: What Happened To Monday is a 2017 sci-fi thriller about a world where families are limited to one child due to overpopulation, and a set of identical septuplets must avoid being put to a long sleep by the government while investigating the disappearance of one of their own.
Director(s): Tommy Wirkola
Actor(s): Noomi Rapace, Glenn Close, Willem Dafoe
Genre: Sci-fi, Action