I’m a bit late to the party when it comes to this movie but my belated amazement does not diminish the greatness of this action film starring Alien: Covenant’s Noomi Rapace as septuplets forced to live the life of one individual in the not so distant future.
Synopsis: Its the year 2043 and the world is reeling from overpopulation. To combat the problem, the Child Allocation Bureau, headed by Nicolette Cayman (Glenn Close) is established to ensure that the new policy for all families to only have one child is enforced. As part of the policy, siblings are listed and put into cryo-sleep until the overpopulation is resolved where they are expected to wake up to a world they deserve. However, Terrence Settman (Willem Dafoe), grandfather of identical septuplets named after each day of the week, has found a way to keep all of his grandchildren by assigning them specific days of the week to go out as one individual, Karen Settman (Noomi Rapace). When the eldest sibling Monday, fails to return at the end of her day, her siblings try to solve the mystery and save her before the bureau finds out that there are actually seven of them.
It was a great premise to have a mystery on top of a sci fi action thriller like What Happened to Monday? It was even more challenging to have a single actress play seven personalities that make up the main character. However, Noomi Rapace manages to pull it off with flying colors, as she flawlessly gives life and specific traits that set each Settman sibling apart from each other, even from their first dinner together. This is a pretty tall order for a single actress but Rapace deserves seven thumbs up for her performance.
Of course, as with all movies with the twin factor, there will be some siblings that stand out from the others. Not a problem because Rapace manages to endear viewers to each Settman by portraying their vulnerabilities effectively. As a result, viewers worry for each sister, wonder if they will survive until the end of the movie and root for them to prevail. Believe me, with action in this magnitude, nails will definitely be bitten and hearts will pound aplenty.
I loved the scenes that flash back to their childhood. It was few and far between but it was able to establish what life the Settmans had to live for 30 years and how it connects to how they are in the present. Willem Dafoe is an amazing villain but this veteran actor is a vet for a reason. He was able to do justice to his tough love and emotional vulnerabilities as the siblings’ grandfather excellently.
Typically, two hours is pretty lengthy for a Hollywood movie, especially one which dangles between suspense and mystery with each additional scene. But there is no dull moment in this movie once the action kicks in and a full onset attack is launched against the sisters. It is quite beautiful to see them working together to protect one another, but it is heartbreaking to see them fall off one by one when an army surrouunds them from all sides.
I think that’s what makes this movie so entertaining to watch — the uncertainty of whether the sisters will survive or not with the CAB going full force against them.
Kudos to the writing team of Max Botkin and Kerry Williamson for this fast-paced script. The movie would not have been as amazing without the amazing execution of director Tommy Wirkola and Noomi Rapace’s commitment to such a physically and emotionally demanding role. Having a villain in Glenn Close that audiences will love to hate was also a plus in the overall brilliance of the film.
All in all, , What Happened to Monday? had a very modern day Soylent Green vibe to it and its villain reminded me of Thanos minus the Infinity Gauntlet. But at the end of the day, its brilliance was hinged on the casting of an effective lead star like Noomi Rapace to serve up the acting and the action in equal heart pounding measure.