DIRECTED BY: Barbara Białowąs and Tomasz Mandes
STARRING: Anna-Maria Sieklucka, Michele Morrone, Bronislaw Wroclawski, Otar Saralidze, Magdalena Lamparska, Natasza Urbańska, Grażyna Szapołowska, Tomasz Stockinger, Gianni Parisi, Mateusz Łasowski and Blanka Lipińska
The film opens with Massimo Torricelli, the son of the Torricelli Sicilian Mafia crime boss, who catches a beautiful woman on a beach when, suddenly, his father is shot dead in mid-conversation, injuring Massimo as well. Five years pass and Massimo is now a ruthless and violent leader of the Torricelli Sicilian Mafia, while in Warsaw, Laura Biel (the woman at the beach earlier) is a fiery executive who is in an unhappy relationship with her boyfriend Martin. When she and Martin head to Italy to celebrate her birthday with friends, then one night she goes for a walk and is suddenly kidnapped. She wakes up at Massimo’s villa where he talks her that he will keep her as his prisoner for three-hundred-and-sixty-five days until she falls in love with him and if she doesn’t by then, he’ll let her go.
365 Days (365 Dni) is a film adaptation of Blanka Lipińska’s novel of the same name and she also co-wrote the screenplay with directors Barbara Białowąs and Tomasz Mandes. Honestly I’ve never heard about Lipińska’s novel trilogy nor have I seen a trailer for this erotic romantic drama (as it’s labelled), but it’s been at No.1 on the Netflix chart here for a while and last night I decided to see what the fuss was about.
From the moment Massimo’s father is shot in front of him, it’s dramatically captured and edited, but when it is followed by a romantic melody number from the soundtrack over the title credits, that should’ve been a sign of things to come for how tone deaf the film is. The cheesy pop soundtrack is used throughout the films one hour and fifty-four minute runtime in an attempt to gloss over just how shallow and vexatious the material is as it unfolds on screen. In theory, the film could’ve gone the route of presenting the psychological breakdown of someone going through stockholm syndrome, but instead it follows the trend set by Fifty Shades of Grey, only this time Mr. Grey’s creepy ass looks like a fucking saint when placed alongside Massimo Torricelli. Massimo is presented as the Don of the Torricelli Mafia (i’ll get to that in a short while), who has Laura stalked for so long, has her drugged and kidnapped, tells her he won’t do anything to her without her permission (whilst groping her), he will do shit without her consent on multiple occasions, force Laura to watch another woman go down on Massimo as he has her chained to the bedposts and he also forces a woman on his private jet to go down on him. He even has a painting of her in his villa, a moment that I believe tries to present itself as ‘Look at how I worship you’ but when you take into account that he only caught a brief glimpse of her from afar, five years prior, and has manifested this desire of having to have her and no one else, just comes across even more creepy than the premise so far.
What makes this film problematic is how this relationship between Massimo and Laura is presented, in particular how Massimo is presented throughout the film, a man who uses his status, money and power, to force himself onto women. Yet the film presents him as a protagonist, someone who enjoys showcasing his dominance and even though he is a rapey sociopath, as long as the girl smiles after it’s over (plane stewardess) or that the abductee falls in love with a man whose body is chiseled by God and his dick by the devil (I’m paraphrasing but that’s a real quote from this awful script) then it’s okay. The fact that Massimo is the head of a crime family is just an excuse for the film to feature some lovely decorations (ever the egomaniac, Massimo even as a painting of him alongside a lion to show off in one of his sex rooms), lovely costume designs and flashy planes and yachts, because the mafia element is practically non-existent in this film, although it’s worth highlighting how Massimo’s father rejected the notion in the meeting of the family getting involved in the sex trade (its the opening scene of the film), yet proceeds to have a sex slave for himself. The overall narrative is paper thin, there’s way too many montages (from shopping to clubbing to beauty therapy), way too many songs used over these montages as well as treating the sex scenes as erotic music videos, right down to a choke grab at one point fitting perfectly in time with a dramatic change in key to the song. If you come for the sex scenes (which I’m sure is the only reason that the film is so highly viewed on Netflix at the moment) and you felt that the scenes in Fifty Shades of Grey were tame in comparison to your expectation, then 365 Days will sure open some eyes with its softcore porn exploits, and if that element somehow makes the film good to you…each to their own.
365 Days completely romanticises this abusive relationship between the captor and the abductee, having a music soundtrack to let you know over the sexualised sequences that this is a fine, adult relationship. Fuck this film, I’m seething at its shittiness.