What Happened to Sunday Noomi Rapace reviewYear: 2017
Director(s): Tommy Wirkola
Writer(s): Max Botkin, Kerry Williamson
Region of Origin: US, UK, France, Belgium

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Rating: Unrated
Digital, Color, 123 mins

Synopsis: In the future, families are limited to one child. Seven sisters posing as one woman suddenly become the subject of a conspiracy after one of them goes missing.

B-movies are as ubiquitous as the air we breathe. Over the years, the genre has picked up a steady stream of followers, and even Hollywood has tried to pander to this crowd. The bad news is, most of these films are barely watchable. Tommy Wirkola’s What Happened to Monday is the exception to the rule, a high-concept fantasy thriller that is pure escapism, but has just enough to make us think. Starting off as an engrossing mystery, the film shifts into a mile-a-minute thriller that embraces gleeful gore and spiraling absurdity with wild abandon. Sure, the film is derivative, but wears its influences well. In all honesty though, the sole reason to watch the film is Noomi Rapace’s seven (!) performances. Starring as seven sisters, Rapace completely commands the screen, giving the story’s unsentimental ideas heart and even substance.

In 2073, overpopulation has made resources scarce. To combat this, families are limited to a single child, abiding to the “one child, one world” mandate. Siblings are rounded up by the Child Allocation Bureau and submitted to cryosleep, under the promise that they will be woken up when advances allow the world to support them. In this world, lives a woman named Karen Settman (Noomi Rapace). Unbeknownst to those around her, Settman is actually comprised of seven identical sisters, each named after a day of the week. Saved by her grandfather (Willem Defoe), each sister shares a single life, going out into public on their day of the week, keeping their true nature a secret. Things are thrown of balance, however, when Monday mysteriously disappears. Knowing that what happens to one, happens to all, the remaining sisters swing into action. Their investigations put them in the crossfire of the ruthless C.A.B. and its cunning leader, Nicolette Cayman (Glenn Close). The path to the truth is a race against time, and each sister vows to do whatever it takes to keep their family together.

If we’re being frank, Wirkola’s film is an inverse Children of Men, as seen through the lens of Luc Besson. Aside from Rapace, the main draw is a relentless series of physics-defying action sequences and a frighteningly imagined future. There’s a dense world at Wirkola’s fingertips, replete with sterilization lines, a dystopian society ruled by secret dictatorship, high-tech gadgets and a steely color palette, all with a myriad of fascinating ideas embedded within. While most of the film’s heady ideas stay surface, the film at least touches upon every angle of its premise, including a villain that’s suprisingly sympathetic, and a twisty plot that isn’t polite to its heroines’ struggles. What we end up with, is a propulsive actioneer that goes for broke and isn’t afraid to deliver some sly punchlines via dismembered finger or sea of bullets. Best to not worry about the plot contrivances and just live in the moment, going through the ringer with the Settman’s as they fight their way to the top of a corporate conspiracy built on fear.

What Happened to Monday Noomi Rapace NetflixBut common, this film is all about Noomi. Reportedly, the film was gender-swapped in favor of Rapace’s casting, and we quickly see that she was born for this. Rapace flexes all her muscles both physically and psychologically for these roles, rendering each sister with fierce believability and sincerity. The fact that she’s one actor playing numerous roles never feels like a gimmick, and after the initial shock, we believe that these are disparate sisters who care for one another. The trick behind Rapace’s performances, is that you feel the bond between each of sister, an immersion that pays off during the film’s gut-punch of an ending. Very few could pull off what Rapace has done here, going through the gamut of human experience to lend the film its substance and emotion.

What Happened to Monday is much better than it deserves to be. Ultimately, Wirkola knows his material’s strengths and weaknesses, using both to his advantage with gleeful aplomb. It also doesn’t hurt that Rapace is captivating throughout, and that the film’s well-paced action is a constant barrage of WTF-worthy savagery. Fast, fun and ultimately emotional, those who like their action films a bit off center should give this a chance.

SG