In 2020 365 Days was released on Netflix, and it became one of the most watched films on the platform. A sort of minor phenomenon began to build up around the movie as it stayed in the top ten of most watched movies in multiple territories around the world. Sex sells, that is an old saying that is filled with so much wisdom. The film attracted a part of the audience that is often neglected when it comes to movie offerings. Those people who love erotic thrillers are frequently in search for something, and 365 Days gave it to them.
The success of the film is undeniable, and with such a success in their hands Netflix was, of course, going to greenlight a sequel, and here we are, two years later, with another movie in this now franchise. It would have been sooner, but production was halted because of COVID-19. It doesn’t really matter, because although there are some small examples of not following the continuity from the first movie, this is not the kind of film that is interested in that kind of stuff.
365 Days: This Day is directed by Barbara Bialowas and stars Anna Maria Sieklucka, Magdalena Lamparska, Michele Morrone, and Simone Susinna. The film tells the story of Laura, a Polish girl who in the first film found herself falling in love with Massimo, a mafia boss. Now married to Massimo, Laura starts discovering that not everything is milk and honey, as Massimo is busy running his family and doesn’t have as much time for her. When a mysterious young man enters Laura’s life, things get even more complicated.
365 Days: This Day is part of the erotic thriller, subgenre, which implies that there is a lot of sex involve in the proceedings of this story. And there is. Where some other films use action sequences to keep people engaged and entertained, 365 Days: This Day uses sex scenes, sometimes even one just after the other. For all the lavishness, and elegance that the movie tries to portray through its locations and vistas, the reality is that the film is quite cheap.
This is cinema at its worst. The reason is not because sex is one of the main elements of the film, far from it, but because the story that is being told here is just an afterthought. The film quickly becomes a boring and repetitive exercise in trying to arouse people watching it. At one point, the character of Massimo says “This looks familiar” and you can’t help but laugh, because he is right. At that moment, he is entering the set-up for a sex scene that his character has performed several times in the same movie.
To be fair, all the actors are very attractive. The producers of the movie are very smart, they know exactly that gathering a ton of beautiful people and giving them sex scenes will make people watch. Nevertheless, when that is the only thing that the movie is offering, it feels cheap and empty of any sort of creativity or passion.
The amount of sex scenes would be less of an issue if Bialowas could find a way to present them in an interesting way. The way they are filmed makes them look like the same scene over and over again. With that level of repetition, what should be exciting and beautiful to look at becomes rather boring and bland.
The film also has the need of relying a bit too much on music to make the scenes pop off. In all honesty, the movie at times feels like a series of video clips pieced together. Any reggaeton music video could easily serve as a substitute for one of these scenes. The cinematography also suffers from a washed out aesthetic that doesn’t allow the colors to pop off. When most of your locations are in Sicily, Italy, it would be nice if the audience could see those environments in all their splendor. Sadly, that isn’t the case in this film.
The actors are doing what they can, but there seems to be a lack of direction in their performances. Both Sieklucka and Morrone have a lot of screen chemistry, and they are both quite beautiful human specimens, and yet, their delivery when it comes to emotion is just lacking on every level. It is hard to ask a lot from the actors when the script is just so poorly done. Most of the dialogue is laughable at best, and there are a couple of lines that will make you think, “what were they thinking?”
From the whole cast of actors, only Morrone comes off as the best performer. Which is very strange because his presence in the movie is quite limited. However, there is a small scene towards the end of the movie that shows that the actor can do some fascinating stuff if he is in the right environment. We can only hope some other production can pick him up and offer him something better than this.
365 Days: This Day, ends in such a way that a third movie is more than a sure thing. Let’s hope the franchise doesn’t go beyond the trilogy. It will find its audience, mostly the people who enjoyed the first one, but even so, it is clear that this sequel is even some steps below the original one. The characters of Laura got everything she wanted at the end of the first one, and here the audience will see that all of it is empty of meaning and purpose.