MONDAY repeatedly draws viewers out of the film.
Just like a century ago, the 2020s have a healthy dose of hedonism. We want to explore our pleasures more than our Baby Boomer and/or Generation X parents, and Monday attempts to play around with this mindset. Unfortunately, what we’re left with is a film that’s anything but pleasurable to watch, instead receiving some strange mixture of romantic comedy, drama, and real-life that comes across as monotonous, droll, and about as deep as a puddle.
Argyris Papadimitropoulos, who last made waves with 2016’s Suntan, is no stranger to playing around with hedonism in his films. If anything, it’s his calling card. Monday is no different, and his sometimes fun (if not innovative) use of color and camera angles set the scene perfectly. However, with a weak plotline, anything that may have stood out from a directorial standpoint is lost. The film feels like Papadimitropoulos came in for the paycheck, and the uninspired, trope-filled shooting for 95% of the film makes the nearly two-hour running time feel much longer. While Suntan had a complex storyline that lent itself to Papadimitropoulos’ directing style, the mundanity of day-to-day living showcased in Monday makes for a boring watch.
Tracking the relationship of Mickey (Sebastian Stan) and Chloe (Denise Gough) through its ups (Fridays) and downs (Mondays), viewers are taken into a whirlwind romance based on carnal desires that somehow evolves into something that’s long-lasting. Chloe, an older, successful lawyer, isn’t uptight but her lifestyle of fun on weekends and business during the weekday doesn’t necessarily align with the selfish man child that is Mickey. Neither character is overly likable, and I was just kind of cheering for them to break up (I won’t spoil what happens in the end, but we’ll just say it’s absurd). A good film will have the viewer suspending their disbelief, but the jointly parasitic relationship portrayed in Monday repeatedly draws viewers out of the film.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
I’m going to start by stating the obvious: Stan and Gough have absolutely no chemistry. To make up for this, Papadimitropoulos has attempted to throw in passionless sex scenes and slapstick nudity in an attempt to establish that they’re “into” each other. Instead, we’re left with two people who seem like they want to be anywhere but filming this movie. The strong supporting cast, including Dominique Tipper and Yorgos Pirpassopoulos, are painfully under utilized to make up for what is probably one of the weakest on-screen pairings of recent years.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
Gough looks like she’s just gotten out of a bar fight half the time, but the makeup as a whole is just mediocre. The set design makes up for what the makeup is lacking in, with Athens shown off beautifully. The sets are well-done and believable (none of this living in a $1,000,000 apartment making $10/hour nonsense we sometimes see), but the over abundance of yellow works against the film. The leads look washed out on film and certain scenes have them fading into the background due to the oversaturation.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
While there’s nothing explicitly wrong with the film’s sound, the non-stop screaming and yelling is rather deafening after ten minutes. I don’t think there was a single adult conversation between Mickey and Chloe that didn’t end with some sort of scream, and it makes for rather spotty sound work. The music doesn’t always fit with the storyline, but I’m wagering that’s an artistic choice that’s being used to show the chaos the couple views as normal.
Uninspired, boring, and attempting to convey a message that just isn’t there are all great ways to describe Monday. Viewers will likely feel nothing but contempt for the couple at the end of the film, and what could have been a poignant storyline concludes with one of the most absurd endings one can imagine. Papadimitropoulos is more than capable of making a great film, but Monday will likely go down as one of the worst in his filmography.