Directors: Barbara Białowąs, Tomasz Mandes
Cast: Anna-Maria Sieklucka, Michele Morrone, Magdalena Lamparska, Otar Saralidze, Simone Susinna
Genre: Erotic thriller
Country/Language: USA, Poland / Polish, English, Italian
Duration: 1 hr 49 min
The first movie had made a splash when it was released on Netflix. With its steamy scenes, the handsome cast, its Fifty Shades of Grey premise, and its romanticization of abusive relationships, the film was much talked about on social media. Adding to that, it was objectively underwhelming and devoid of real substance which made the movie a target for mockery and incinerating commentary videos on YouTube.
Based on the novel of the same name by Blanka Lipińska, 365 Days followed our heroine, Laura Biel (played by Anna Maria Sieklucka), who gets kidnapped by a handsome, brooding Italian gangster named Massimo (Michele Marrone). Besotted by her angelic beauty, Massimo keeps her hostage and asks her to live with him for exactly one year. If Laura doesn’t fall in love with him by the end of the year, he will let her go.
The ending is inevitable. The bored Laura falls hard for the mysterious gangster and they get it on. There’s also mafia rivalry and mind games which occur throughout the movie, but we know no one watched it for that.
The sequel, 365 Days: This Day, begins with Laura and Massimo making out passionately right before their wedding to some pop music. The filmmakers are essentially saying, “You came for the sex scenes, isn’t it? Here, take it!” Then we see the couple tying the knot in a lavish Sicilian wedding sequence with even more background pop music. And then there’s the honeymoon.
Cue the rollout of more Rated R scenes. The first half of this erotic “thriller” is basically a montage of said scenes as well as Laura and Massimo doing lesiurely activities in pretty locations. With crisp cinematography, a neverending pop music playlist and characters dressed in designer clothes, the film looks more like a music video or an extended commercial. Then there are more scenes of the couple attending parties.
This is followed by Laura and her best friend Olga going on a girls’ trip in their shiny car in a scene straight out of a tourism ad. In fact, there is less spoken dialogue and more background music throughout the course of this movie. One could argue that each scene has a song assigned to it. The overall pop soundtrack of this movie is not bad. In fact, even the soundtrack in the preceding film was touted by many as its sole redeeming factor.
No doubt this movie was sponsored by companies behind cars, vibrators, shades and jacuzzis, judging by the numerous close ups of these items in the movie which seems more like an extended music video than anything. The characters are paper thin, coming off as corny with equally corny dialogues. There is no moment in this film in which we feel empathy for these people or care about what happens to them.
The plot itself is bare-thin and insignificant. By the second half of the movie, the couple’s fairytale honeymoon is brought to an end thanks to the husband’s unavoidable mafia duties which he needs to tend to. So the bored Laura is left alone by herself with nothing to keep her busy. She walks around the estate and encounters a mysterious young man named Nacho (Simone Susinna).
Nacho’s introductory scene is laughably cringe – almost bordering on parody – as the camera caresses his muscles, tattoos and face like they do in advertisements for men’s grooming products. Nacho claims to be the new gardener at the estate. But this guy is not what he claims to be and once again, the couple’s marriage is thrown against the rocks by dangerous outside forces. It’s unbelievable how the plot is crammed into the second half of this movie, and if stripped to its essential scenes (cutting out the sex/party/travel scenes), it would only last for twenty minutes. Such is the state of the plot of this film.
Just like its predecessor, 365 Days: This Day is another unintentionally funny, slightly amusing, and mostly boring uninspired piece of Netflix content. There is no way the makers of this film don’t realize how bland and embarrassing this movie is and how people perceive it. All that matters is that the film grabs people’s attention, is talked about by reviewers no matter how negatively, and has people checking out the movie for curiosity. And so far, it seems like people are watching it. This thriller, directed by Barbara Białowąs and Tomasz Mandes, is ranking at #5 on Netflix’s Movies Today as of writing this.
Not all movies have to be serious or need to make complete sense. This sequel, with its lazily written plot and clunky English dialogues, could have been made into a campy thriller. All the energy and focus could have been put into making this movie entertainingly slapstick and self-aware about its caricature of mafia characters and overall lack of logic. But instead, it tries to be stylish and pretty, glamorous but not too out-there, not quite here nor there; and as a result, it makes for an uncompelling film. However, some audiences aren’t concerned about the blandness or lack of plot in a movie as long as they can hang out with their friends, munch snacks and watch a flick where they can make fun of the characters. Perhaps in that way, this film will prove useful.
‘365 Days: This Day’ is now streaming on Netflix.
Also read: Saani Kaayidham: Like well-made revenge dramas? This is for you
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