This movie is trying real hard to be something it's not. It's not porn. It's not a thriller. And it's not particularly good.
- In a vacuum, the sex scenes are hot.
- The kidnapping.
- The sexual assault.
- The first 25 minutes, especially.
Kidnapping, sexual assault and Stockholm Syndrome are a hit — somehow — for Netflix in the Polish import 365 Days . (Known in its native language as 365 DNI .) Maybe it's because of the sex scenes, which actually are pretty good, if you forget about the whole kidnapping thing. And the sexual assault.
Or maybe it's because we've all been stuck at home and we're looking for something — anything — out of the ordinary to watch. You know, like kidnapping and sexual assault.
It's most certainly not because this is a good movie.
MORE: For even more bad erotic thriller on Netflix, watch Deadly Illusions
The official description of 365 Days on Netflix reads thusly: "A fiery executive in a spiritless relationship falls victim to a dominant mafia boss, who imprisons her and gives her one year to fall in love with him." It's found itself near the top of the U.S. Top 10, alongside Netflix originals like 13 Reasons Why , Space Force and Queer Eye , as well as the final season of Fuller House .
This movie is "romantic," it says in the genre section.
Netflix and I have very different definitions of "romantic." And I'd recommend reading that description again, and then skip the first 25 minutes of the movie, because they really won't help set things up all that well.
Yes, Massimo (Michele Morrone) is a gangster, as is his father. But Dad doesn't want anything to do with young refugee girls currently being offered to him by some potential business associates. "My family has never been into this sort of business," he says in Italian. The dealers ask him to reconsider, but he doesn't, and calls over his right-hand man, Mario. Dad and Massimo talk about women — the son had seen one below the house and was momentarily distracted. They embrace ... and someone shoots them both. One shot, through the father. But Massimo survives.
Was it the human traffickers? Was it someone else for some other reason? Don't know. And we don't find out. And it mostly doesn't matter anyway.
We skip ahead five years — but not before the first entry in a pretty awful soundtrack — and bounce back and forth between Massimo and Mario complaining about some investments that went bad in one boardroom, and sales director Laura Biel (Anna Maria Sieklucka) defending her decision to allow a rowdy band into her client's hotel in another. Massimo wants his money back, plus interest, and puts some supposedly incriminating photos down in front of who I assume is an exec of the investment firm. Is it with men? Women? Kids? Puppies? We don't know. But it must be bad. Laura did the right thing and got so much publicity for the hotel that they're booked solid for the next four weeks.
These two scenes have absolutely nothing to do with one another. Same goes for when she gets into the back of her hired car and records herself opening a few buttons of her shirt and recording some gentle caresses. Is it for someone in particular? Or Reddit? Massimo, meanwhile, gets a video message from a different brunette and quickly puts the phone back in his pocket.
Laura returns home to her boyfriend, who's doing work on the coach while a movie plays on an impossibly small TV. She wants some. He wants another half-hour and reminds her that she's got a bad back and a heart problem. Besides, they're flying out tomorrow and she needs to pack. You know, sexy talk when you don't want to have sexy time.
Meanwhile, Massimo, Mario and Massimo's man Domenico are on a private jet headed back to Europe. The flight attendant bends at the waist to hand Massimo a drink in a manner you only see in bad movies like this one. Mario lets Massimo know that someone stole their shipment of cocaine, which would make total sense if this were a spinoff of the excellent White Lines . But it's not, and it doesn't. (But if anyone sees a container of coke floating around someone, please let Massimo know.)
Thoroughly depressed by the news, Massimo closes the curtains and approaches the flight attendant, whose mannerisms certainly led him to believe that she was up for giving some fairly forceful oral sex just a few feet away from Massimo's pals. When they're finished (or he has, anyway) you can see the flight attendant had cried during the event. But is that a slight smile on her face?
Flipping back to the other side of the nonsensical, Laura's gone to bed not-quite alone, giving us one of the better shots of a vibrator in recent cinema memory. While not exactly stylistically legitimate, it's definitely the only part of this movie that's made sense so far. (Note to spouses everywhere: Quit working when your wife gets home.) And, yeah, it's pretty hot and doesn't involve kidnapping or sexual assault. The only assault on Laura, so far, is the second entry of a pretty awful soundtrack.
We're still not to the part of this movie where things start to make sense. Cut to Laura and her boyfriend and some friends having made it to their vacation in Italy. Know who else is in Italy? Massimo. Laura literally runs into him on the way to the bathroom, almost as if he'd followed her somehow. "Are you lost, baby girl?" he asks. No, man. She just needs to pee.
The next morning, Laura's boyfriend — who at least changed out of his tank top and into a respectable tee — is nowhere to be found. So she hits the pool. He shows up around lunchtime having hiked Mt. Etna by himself. (Well, maybe not by himself. And maybe not at all, actually.) Later that night, as Laura walks and cries through the streets alone and the third entry of an awful soundtrack plays, she's kidnapped by some of Massimo's men and awakens the next day at his place. And finds large portraits of her hanging on the wall.
Turns out that woman he saw at the bottom of the hill right before he and his father were shot — and whose face he saw as he thought he was going to die five years ago — was Laura. "Somewhere inside me I had this feeling of certainty that one day you would stand in front of me and be mine," he tells her.
"You must be kidding," she snarls back at him. "Nobody owns me. I'm not an object. You can't have me just like that — kidnap me and think that I'm all yours."
"I know," Massimo replies. He knows exactly what he's done, and that's not good. And then he hands Laura photos of her boyfriend having sex with someone else from behind. "But that's why I'm giving you a chance to fall in love with me. Not because I made you do it — because you will want to."
Massimo gives her a year to fall in love with him. If she hasn't by her next birthday, he'll ... let her go.
"I won't do anything without your permission," Massimo tells the kidnapped Laura while he feels her up. "I'll wait until you want me." OK, then.
That's it. That's the only part of this movie that requires explanation, and it's the least watchable 25 minutes in the whole hour and a half. The rest is Massimo holding Laura hostage and forcing himself on her.
That's not to say there aren't other passionate parts, and that they aren't passionate. There are, and they are. That's not to say the more consensual sex scenes aren't hot — they are, even if that consent is hardly based on a foundation anyone would consider remotely OK. The shower scene is, forgive me, steamy. The yacht scene is one anyone who's ever owned a boat (even one a fraction of the size of Massimo's Titan ) dreams of — and it's one that will never, ever happen that way. Because of, ya know, the kidnapping and sexual assault.
To repeat: It's not OK to kidnap anyone and force yourself on them while you attempt to get them to love you. Even if it makes for some sexy scenes in a third-rate Netflix film.
There are plenty more bad lines in this one. There's a little bit of a Pretty Woman vibe in parts, only with more kidnapping and sexual assault.
Then Massimo does some other dumb stuff that leads to the twist that ends the movie the same way it began both for myself, and for Laura:
Watch 365 Days while you're away from home with a VPN
Can't watch 365 Days where you live? Regional limitations are a drag. But just because you're not in your home country doesn't mean you're not still a citizen of that country, right?
One way to fix geographical limitations is to use a VPN so that your network traffic is coming from your home country. (After all, a Brit in, say, France, is still very much a Brit, right?) VPNs are easier to use than ever, and they're also less expensive than ever.
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