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  What Happened to Monday Sister Act
Year: 2017
Director: Tommy Wirkola
Stars: Noomi Rapace, Glenn Close, Willem Dafoe, Marwan Kenzari, Christian Rubeck, Pål Sverre Hagen, Tomiwa Edun, Cassie Clare, Cameron Jack, Clara Read, Kirsty Averton, Lucy Pearson, Nadiv Molcho, Elijah Ungvary, Vegar Hoel, Robert Wagner
Genre: Action, Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Towards the middle of the twenty-first century, a global crisis had gripped humanity as the population explosion had been allowed to get way out of hand, with people crowding every ever-expanding city and the food running out since there was not enough for every belly. However, a solution was sought with genetically modified food which proved bountiful but had an unfortunate side effect: women eating these comestibles would become incredibly fertile, and births of up to seven siblings were not uncommon. Clearly something had to be done, and at the head of the research Nicolette Cayman (Glenn Close) had the answer: cryogenically freeze the children...

Not all the children, just the surplus ones so that every family has the maximum of a single offspring while the authorities work out what to do with the kids they have deep frozen in storage. Which was high concept enough as it was, though What Happened to Monday was less like Soylent Green and more like one of those incredibly daft science fiction yarns of a more recent vintage, the supposedly serious yet actually preposterous Equilibrium or Upside Down, for example. The idea here was that one family had slipped through the totalitarian world government's clutches, and a group of seven sisters, raised by their grandfather (Willem Dafoe), had a neat solution.

Given they looked all alike, identical in fact, and all played by Noomi Rapace, they could go out on one day a week while pretending to be the same person. To get around any awkward questions, they hold a meeting every evening to get the facts of what has happened to each of them in this guise, so there will be no gaffes as they all know everything about this "Karen Settman" character they adopt, and they have reached the age of thirty without any mishaps whatsoever. Now, this may sound farfetched, but you have got this far so don't bail out now for there were some genuine amusements to be garnered from watching Rapace playing with herself. Or rather, playing against herself. Um.

Naturally, this situation cannot continue as it has been (grandfather is long out of the picture, but his influence continues), so a spanner is thrown in the works when one of the ladies goes missing, the titular Monday (they are all named after days of the week and venture out on the days with their name). As the others left behind wonder what to do next, it would appear the powers that be are onto them and have decided to clamp down, as they do with every extraneous person in this overcrowded world, even to the extent of murdering them. They say they will take the sisters out of the picture discreetly, although in practice this plays out as shooting at them as they flee across busy streets, gunning down passersby in flagrant denial of their supposed policy of secrecy, and somehow this never leaks to the press.

However, the biggest issue here was not those action movie clichés which director Tommy Wirkola embraced as if he had invented them, it was the premise itself. Should the population on the planet's surface grow to be ten billion, with a million born every day, the simple answer would be abortion, yet even though this was a European movie from countries where that was not so much of a hot button topic, nobody in the plot thinks, how about removing the foetuses when they are in a nascent stage and leaving one baby to grow in the womb, if that is what the mother wants? Or even, how about increasing access to contraception which would eliminate the problem in one fell swoop? No religious authority was invoked, yet this appeared to be pandering to the most stringent of fundamentalist beliefs nevertheless, all to make their already hard to swallow concepts operate as a successful narrative. Surely the above two solutions would be preferable to what this posits as the obvious consequence, incinerating little girls (!). Otherwise, Rapace was fun, but there was a particularly boneheaded anti-science agenda behind this that was borderline offensive, only pulling back at the end for a "waaaaaiiiit a minute" final shot. Music by Christian Wibe.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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