Behind this intriguing title What Happened to Monday hides a pretty solid science fiction movie. It features a lot of ideas we’ve already explored in similar movies but it also has an authentic plot. It focuses on the overpopulation issue, taking place in the near future where each household is allowed to have just one child. And if this sounds familiar, you’re probably thinking of China’s now-defunct one-child policy. It didn’t work for them and it’s not going to work for anyone. However, this also makes it a pretty safe issue to explore.
What Happened to Monday is a notch above your usual Netflix science fiction movies. Dealing with environmental issues, it reminded me of another one of their movies, Okja. Let’s start with the cast featuring not just Noomi Rapace but also Willem Dafoe and Glenn Close. The director is Tommy Wirkola, the guy behind Dead Snow duology, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and The Trip. This gave the movie a distinct, European flavor.
They did wonders with a $20 million budget and the movie looks great. It’s that sort of mildly entertaining science fiction experience you’re going to remember only because it features one girl playing different characters. I will stop here as I don’t want to spoil anything. I also want to add that the movie kind of slows down in the second half making it a bit duller than it needed to be. However, I was able to finish it without any problems.
The technical aspect of it was a lot of fun although we have seen this type of production many times before. That doesn’t make it any less fun though. Also, Noomi was simply mesmerizing here. Ever since I first saw her in Babycall, I was slowly but surely falling in love with here. She can both act and do the needed action stunts, basically everything you would need from an actor.
Welcome to the world of tomorrow! Overpopulation along with our dwindling resources resulted in a one-child policy. That policy is just one part of the surveillance state keeping its citizens in check. They have to wear tracking devices and report constantly to the authorities. In this world, we find Terrence Settman who after the death of his daughter during labor is faced with a dilemma. A dilemma that might land him in jail. Or worse. So, he makes the right decision, for now. Because no one can tell what the future will bring.
What I like about What Happened to Monday is its willingness to experiment. It’s a balancing act between commercial blandness and creative chaos. I like chaos more but I’m sure that’s not a profitable choice. So, we’ve got mystery, excellent visuals, a decent plot, and good action sequences, making this a pretty easy-to-watch movie. I know this is the hundredth story about an evil corporation fucking something up the future but it’s still relevant. For fuck’s sake, they’re fucking up things now and nothing is happening.
I think that people who are not fans of science fiction will enjoy this movie the most. If you’re willing to just go along with the story and think about the personal choices, this can be a riveting experience. So, if you’re up for some nice and mildly thought-provoking science fiction experience, just go for it. And as far as fans of the genre are concerned, there’s also fun to had with this one.
Director: Tommy Wirkola
Writers: Max Botkin, Kerry Williamson
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Glenn Close, Willem Dafoe, Marwan Kenzari, Christian Rubeck, Pål Sverre Hagen
Fun Facts: Original script by Max Botkin was on the 2010 Blacklist of best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood.