Starring Noomi Rapace, Noomi Rapace, Noomi Rapace, Noomi Rapace, Noomi Rapace, Noomi Rapace, Noomi Rapace, Glenn Close, Willem Dafoe, Marwan Kenzari
Directed by Tommy Wirkola
The year is 2073 and the world is attempting to combat rampant overpopulation that not only causes starvation and lack of resources but also contributes to global warming crises that have long-lasting and potentially irreversible impacts on Earth. To combat this, the Child Allocation Bureau (C.A.B.) is created and implements a strict law: no family is allowed more than one child. Amidst all of this, seven identical sisters are born, each one named after a day of the week, and somehow raised in secret. The plan is that each sister, played by Noomi Rapace, will go out into public on the day of their name where they will live the life of their combined identity: Karen Settman. However, when one of the sisters goes missing, it becomes a race to figure out what happened to her before the rest are found and taken away by the C.A.B.
What Happened to Monday presents a tightly crafted story that never deviates from its premise. Where it shines is that it recognizes there is a need to have humanity and emotion mixed in with the conflicts and violence. What pleased me to no end was how effective both were conveyed. The action scenes were absolutely thrilling, relying upon brilliant waves of tension that gave way to visceral and impactful sequences. The choreography was spot on and the camera didn’t hesitate to pull back, allowing viewers to see what was happening rather than putting them in the middle of a confusing blur.
As mentioned, there is a hefty dose of humanity at play here as we are given the time to see how each sister, though physically identical, is wildly different in terms of personality. Although they cannot leave each others’ sides, except for one day at a time, they’ve each become entirely unique unto themselves. For example, one sister is fascinated with technology and how to be a computer wizard while another is dedicated to exercise and fitness. And just like any other family, they squabble, bicker, argue, and don’t always get along. But as the film progresses, there is no doubt that they have a deep love for each other, something Wirkola makes painstaking efforts to express.
Rapace is absolutely brilliant in this film. In essence, she had to shoot seven movies worth of roles here as each character needed to have her own personality. How she managed to pull so many different mannerisms, quirks, and styles out for these sisters is beyond me. This is, without a doubt, an award-worthy performance and it would be a crime for her to be overlooked.
From a production aspect, the film looks fantastic and feels entirely believable. The technology of a cinematic world should reflect the time in which it takes place and What Happened to Monday certainly shines in that regard. That being said, the futuristic creations that were brought to life by the production team do not overwhelm the senses nor do they seem outlandish or overbearing. In fact, anything that might feel too “sci-fi” is already being worked on right now, so it only makes sense that these inventions will be perfected and realized 5+ decades from now.
Composer Christian Wibe, who worked with Wirkola on the Dead Snow films, crafts a phenomenal and emotive score that elevates every scene without being overpowering.
What Happened to Monday is a dystopian vision of absolutely horrifying and nightmarish scope. But because of the miserable bleakness, there shines the need for family and closeness and this film revels in the beauty and preciousness of human life. It is an exhilarating and emotional movie that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.