365 Days

 

star



The surprise Netflix hit, a celebration of athletic coupling, is just as vacuous and tedious as 

one feared.

 
365 Days

An indecent proposal

 

Netflix is a bizarre animal. On the one hand it has given us such arthouse hits as Roma and Marriage Story, on the other something as unutterably awful as 365 Days. And yet, according to Forbes magazine, the last named has spent more time at the No. 1 spot on Netflix than any release besides the Mark Wahlberg action-comedy Spenser Confidential. You can manipulate these figures, but either way this Polish abomination has attracted enormous viewer attention. But why? Considering the availability of porn in its infinite variety, it’s a wonder that audiences are still drawn to mainstream smut like this. It is so bad it makes Fifty Shades of Grey look like Last Tango in Paris. At least Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey had recognisable personalities. Here, we have The Taming of the Shrew re-written for the ADHD age, a film so devoid of credibility that it beggars belief. And while Shakespeare’s comedy continues to draw ire for its misogyny, 365 Days reaches new depths of sexism in its depiction of non-consensual, non-genital bonking.

 

Believe it or not, its male protagonist is a brooding 6’2” gangster who owns a number of international companies, a private jet, yacht, castle, and the usual trappings. In the words of Laura Biel (Anna-Maria Sieklucka), he “has been moulded by God himself” and has a six-pack you could play crazy golf on. Of course, with untold millions and absolute power comes some less savoury aspects and, sure enough, Massimo (Michele Morrone) is conceited, psychotic, volatile, jealous, narcissistic, promiscuous, ruthless and embarrassingly egotistical. When, on a Mediterranean beach, he spots Laura, a beauty from Warsaw with an amusing heart condition, he resolves to have her. However, Massimo’s father (Gianni Parisi) warns him that, “you have to be careful. Beautiful women are heaven for the eyes, but hell for the soul.” “And,” Massimo chips in, “purgatory for the wallet.” Then, to add poignancy to his father’s words, the old man is shot dead on the spot.

 

Five years later, Massimo is now king of his patch, which seems to be most of Sicily and beyond, and he bumps into Laura just a stone’s throw from his villa. As one does (she still lives in Warsaw). So he kidnaps her and gives her 365 days to fall in love with him. He has much to offer, but his arrogance and habit of throttling her proves to be a turn-off – not to mention his threats on her family.

 

Based on the first novel of a trilogy penned by Blanka Lipińska, the film invites comparison to Fifty Shades of Grey and one fears there may be more to come. But whereas the first cinematic chapter of the former was directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, and exhibited a degree of humour and self-awareness, 365 Days is mechanical, artificial and brain liquefying. Basically it’s one montage after another and features more pop songs per meter than any other film in the marketplace. Thus, when Massimo argues that he is “not the monster you think I am”, the next montage features Nick Kingsley & Hannah Hart's 'You Made a Monster' (“I'll play game just give me the dice/But be warned, I grip like a vice”). Subtlety is not one of the film’s faults.

 

The dialogue is also risible, although the sweeping drone shots and palatial interiors do offer a superficial appeal, and neither Sieklucka nor Morrone are hard on the eye. But the monotonous rhythm and lack of any narrative complexity makes the film feel more like 365 hours than anything approaching a feature-length fling with the rich and depraved. It’s like a Babycham commercial for teetotallers and one yearns for the moral ambiguity of Shakespeare’s Shrew. At least that had some good lines.

 

Original title: 365 dni.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Anna-Maria Sieklucka, Michele Morrone, Bronisław Wrocławski, Otar Saralidze, Magdalena Lamparska, Natasza Urbańska, Mateusz Łasowski, Gianni Parisi.

 

Dir Barbara Białowąs and Tomasz Mandes, Pro Maciej Kawulski, Ewa Lewandowska and Tomasz Mandes, Screenplay Tomasz Klimala, Barbara Białowąs, Tomasz Mandes and Blanka Lipińska, Ph Mateusz Cierlica, Pro Des Agnieszka Bartold, Ed Marcin Drewnowski, Music Michał Sarapata and Mateusz Sarapata, Costumes Magdalena Sekrecka and Malgorzata Skorupa.

 

Ekipa Sp. z o.o./Future Space/Next Film/TVN-Netflix.

113 mins. Poland. 2020. Rel: 7 June 2020. Available on Netflix. Cert. 18.