Starring: Noomi Rapace, Willem Dafoe, Glenn Close
Director: Tommy Wirkola
Produced by: Netflix
“Seven Sisters. One Identity.”
In the distant future, the world has solved world hunger. Genetically modified food has ended any threat of starvation and seems like a God-send. As a result of the modifications, fertility in women skyrockets, multiple births are the new norm, and the world’s space and resources are suffering for it. As a temporary fix, the government has imposed a law that families may not give birth to more than one child. What seems to be a brilliant solution to overcrowding quickly turns into a terrifying reality when government groups begin forcing parents to choose one child so the others may be cryogenically frozen until the world is in a better state.
In this world, seven sisters, named after the days of the week, have learned to hide themselves away. They live in their apartment, only exposing themselves to the outside world during the day they are named after, each to share the life of one public identity — the life of Karen Settman. Each evening they meet to share the exact details of the day so each sister can accurately portray her role, but one evening Monday never comes home at all…
As soon as I saw a new Netflix original movie had been posted I was curious. In my book, Netflix has a decent track record for original shows such as Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things, and even the resurrection of Arrested Development. The poster was attractive. It was clearly a dystopian setting and a brief description screamed sci-fi. As soon as I saw the cast, I knew I had to see it.
This film doesn’t start with a bang, but it rolls out a steady backstory that grabbed me right away. Willem Dafoe (Spiderman, Platoon) loses his daughter after she gives birth, illegally, to septuplets. With the help of a nurse, he smuggles the babies out of the hospital and keeps them hidden away. Fast forward a few years and we get our explanation of how the girls intend to survive in a world that wants them dead. The writers could have easily had one of the characters explain the situation their dialogue, but having the visual of significant parts of their childhood helped me to not only understand the mechanics of their grandfather’s plan, but also to learn the personalities of the characters before the main plot of the movie. Because I got to know them as children, I actually cared.
They continue to flash back to the girls’ childhood during pertinent parts of the movie. Once or twice a flashback seemed like a “by the way, we forgot to mention this hitch in their relationship and here’s the memory to explain why”. Moments like this that aren’t set up at the start of the film seem forced as if they were added in after the fact to try and spice things up. I believe they did this in order to set up Will Dafoe as a loveable character and then introduce some flaws to him later on, but the development wasn’t smooth, and I would have liked to address some of the character quirks upfront.
After Monday goes missing, the film was taken in an entirely different direction from what I expected. It very quickly became an action film, and a quite violent one at that. Each sister is pushed to the very edge of her emotional boundary. About halfway through the film, shit hits the fan and things never calm down from there. I kept hypothesizing, convinced that I would guess the inevitable plot twist before it happened, but I was way off the mark and the movie did a beautiful job of landing on its explanation. It leads the audience in the wrong direction so many times that you lose track of what you truly believe is going on.
I thought the acting in this film was phenomenal. After the initial shock a few years back, I’ve come to look forward to renowned actors being cast in online-only films and shows. One young actress played all the young siblings just as one adult actress played all of the adult siblings. The CGI was flawless and I actually had to do some research to figure out if there were seven identical ladies out there looking for acting jobs. I had never seen Noomi Rapace (Prometheus, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) in anything before and she did a phenomenal job. None of the sisters shared a personality, interests, or style. She played seven completely different characters that interacted with one another. Many of the scenes only include the Settman siblings, meaning Ms. Rapace must have been alone during much of the filming. That being said, I was never consciously aware of this during the movie. She did a brilliant job.
Fool On The Hill:
Overall, this is an entertaining film and I’m glad I watched it. I will probably never watch it again, but it’s one I would definitely recommend to people who are interested in the dystopian genre. The acting, graphics, and overall feel of the movie were really well done and they get an A for the original concept.
An engrossing action thriller. This film broke my suspension of disbelief a few times while watching, but it never put me off so much that I didn’t want to watch it to the end. The action is intense, the story is gripping, and the acting is high quality. While not a timeless science fiction movie, it is still a good addition to one’s film library.