The extraordinary bodies of Michele Morrone and Anna Maria Sieklucka are perhaps the only forces that drive the ludicrous and somewhat silly "365 Days", the Polish production that generated such a hot buzz it ended in the Top 10 Netflix to-watch films.
I confess my male crush: the man, Massimo, is a towering and tanned Latin hunk with finely-traced abs and looks like he's always posing for a Giorgio Armani ad, the woman, Laura, has the kind of gorgeous face and tantalizing body that provoke an immediate urge for possession. Only a fool would have a woman like Laura and make no effort to keep her... only a fool woman wouldn't surrender to Massimo's charm.
But only a fool script would have a man like Massimo kidnap a woman like Laura and sequestrate her in a heavenly remote island and give her 365 days to love him... in fact, only a fool script would have Massimo say "you have 365 days" whoever says "365 days?" isn't saying "one year" a simpler formulation? What if it's a bissextile year (like 2020), are you willing to sacrifice the possibility to have her love you at the last minute? Or is "365 days" only a figure of speech and Massimo knew damn well it wouldn't take so long? Anyway, when he said "365 days" I could swear I head the voice from "CinemaSins" saying "Title Drop".
So Massimo takes Laura in his dungeon of wealth, luxuriance and... weird sexual practices, he promises not to hurt her, to let her go shopping but she's his prisoner before becoming his lover. All we know about the two is that Massimo is some kind of Mafia member who instantly fell in love with Laura and Laura is a tough businesswoman with a husband who doesn't know how lucky he is. Massimo had his father killed in front of him and Laura is in need. Massimo as a man of possession and Laura as a woman in desire of possession.
The expositional part goes even further, it also shows Massimo forcing a flight attendant to make him happy, she's reluctant at first but at the end, she's smiling. What we have in that scene is the film in microcosm, Massimo is the new Leo, what we want, he gets, and apparently, the director is stingy on shocking moments that would normally be followed by instant uproars and calls for censorhip in these post-Weinstein days. Seems that the confinement context helped a little. The problem with "365 Days" is that the film tries too hard to make a sensation: so many scenes are filled with useless pop music that we're not left one instant with an opportunity to get into the depths of these characters, basically, they're all characterized by their needs.
It's a sort of psychological arm-wrestling that would be fine if the film wasn't just going up and down between moments where both go along and others where violence ensues. The film intelligently avoids the point of no return, Massimo never treats Laura like the fligth attendant but then again, it doesn't play fair with its own premise. If days are numbered, how come we never know how many days have passed? How come Laura seems quickly aroused by Massimo? Why couldn't she go through the different stages: fear, anger, hunger strikes, you know the drift.
The reason is because the film's sole purpose is to show sex scenes as heated and torrid as the sun we were missing during the confinement, I guess people were in need of that. The film doesn't care much for the feelings as long as they can be expressed within the spectrum of sexual desire: anger is physical need, defiance is sexual tension, gentlness is a preliminary, joy is orgasm etc. What's left at the end is something silly but also unpleasant in the sense that we never exactly understand why Laura surrenders to Massimo: is it Stockholm syndrome? Is it his looks? Or is it because he's stinking rich?
But I dare not torture myself with such questions because ultimately, it unveils the biggest flaw of the film which is the premise. Was Laura that hard to get to begin with? Couldn't Massimo just attract her attention? Court her? Didn't he have enough to offer instead of entrapping her in his gilded cage? Did it have to be so damn complicated? Laura was already an unsatisfied wife... The 'kidnapping' part doesn't work because it's a wrong premise but because it's treated like a gimmick, a word to put on the summary and allow the film to have its little edge other over soft core productions, this is what it's all about, and when it culminates with the long-awaited sex scene, I was aroused but didn't feel rewarde I thought "it was about time".
If you take off the sex material and the awful pop music, there's nothing left from the film... it's dry empty... but near the end the film got more interesting, Laura was given back her freedom and went to her home and met Massimo again, she confronted him, threw her anger at him and then I was following the scene with full attention, finally, a scene with depth, with true emotions, something totally unrelated to body fluids but no it had to switch to a sort of angry sex scene with (you get it) an awful pop music... that's when I abandoned any hope for this film.
I take "365 Days" at face value as a little more elaborate soft core film with a silly script, and two gorgeous bodies... a wannabe "Fifty Shades of Grey", which isn't saying much.
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