Here we have a classic example of a film that’s quite hard for me to review for reasons of my other habits. It’s a dystopian near-future world, with a much more cyber-punk vibe that things like The Hunger Games. Because we don’t get many cyber-punk films I feel like I want to give it a better mark but, if I’d read it as a book, I would be complaining that it’s actually quite lazy with its characters: they mostly fit into rather simple cyber-punk stereotypes and don’t try too hard to break out of those moulds. There is one exception to that, and that is a lovely little character moment. Otherwise we have the hacker, with no desire to live without her computers, the corporate drone who thinks money is more important than anything, the security drone, the fighter types, the party girls, the street urchin, the politician and so on, and they all follow all-too-familiar routines. While I’m not an avid devourer of all things cyber-punk, I’m more than familiar with the genre, and the film left me feeling a bit flat because of that.
Then we add the central conceit of the film: Noomi Rapace plays identical septuplets, named after the days of the week, who are at the centre of the story because the particular world they live in has a one child per family law in an attempt to preserve resources and save the planet. While this is quite effective as a story line, and Rapace brings some sense of difference to each of the clones, as an avid fan of Orphan Black the film itself does not manage the sisters as well as the TV show managed the sestras. I’m sure they had a lot more money, but the institutional knowledge of having done it for five seasons of TV makes a big difference and What Happened to Monday managed about season 2 levels of interaction with them nearly always tightly controlled and kept apart, quite visibly. There is one clone fight scene, and while it’s better than in Legend (a very low bar, it has to be said) all too often I simply said “it’s not as good as in Orphan Black.” The difference was stark, and all one way. It’s eminently possible this skewed my perception of the film too.
This is one of those films where there’s nothing wrong with it and I’m sure a lot of other people will like it a lot more than me. If you’re in Clone Club and a cyber-punk fan, well it’s on Netflix so it’s essentially free and might be worth a look but be warned… you might react how how I have. If you’re not in Clone Club, you might well like it more because you won’t always be thinking “but that scene in Orphan Black where … was done better.” Personally, I didn’t dislike this film but I looked at loads of it and thought “oh, that could have been done so much better,” so I was disappointed.
Bechdel test: With seven Noomi Rapaces talking to each other, and a Glenn Close, easily.
Russo test: No, apparently no one in the future is gay.
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