Directed by: Barbara Białowąs & Tomasz Mandes
Written by: Tomasz Klimala, Barbara Białowąs, Tomasz Mandes, Blanka Lipińska
Starring: Anna-Maria Sieklucka, Michele Morrone, Bronisław Wrocławski, Otar Saralidze
Sexual fantasies have played themselves out in many forms of entertainment for people to enjoy in their own ways. Fanfiction sites blossomed carrying different creations, which has then garnered such popularity and has found its way into feature films. It appears the magic captured through text cannot find its way to the silver screen, but 365 Days happens to be its own breed of putrid nonsense. Not only does it overestimate its sexual appeal, but the story also pushes back the conversation of consent and assault several decades.
While vacationing in Sicily, and having a rough time with her boyfriend, Laura (Anna-Maria Sieklucka) gets kidnapped by the men led by Massimo (Michele Morrone). He has been obsessed with Laura for over five years and chooses to keep her hostage for 365 days, as he’s very confident she will fall in love with him within that time.
I cannot begin to describe every inscrutable and horrifying idea 365 Days peddles onto the audience, as it barely attempts to be a film. Instead, it becomes a mash-up of what seems to be a music video at times with some strong nonconsensual actions all meaning to be sexy. The film, transparently, sells itself on being erotic and it teases the eventual sexual encounters the two leads will have. It becomes rather confusing because the plot wants you to root for them to eventually come together, but everything leading up to it only shows an abusive monster trying to get his way with a naive woman.
After all, Laura gets kidnapped by the man. She’s not allowed to leave the premises but Massimo promises not to touch or force himself on her without her consent. Something that would be nice if not for the fact he’s holding her against her will. It only gets worse, when he breaks the only decent promise he made, by touching her in ways she obviously does not provide consent for. It creates for an exercise in seeing how much a man can get away with if he happens to be a gorgeous and ludicrously rich individual. Just imagining if Massimo had actually been a lesser attractive and financially challenged individual, makes it obvious this film deserves to be thrown in the trash. It becomes lifestyle porn as Laura gets taken to all of these fancy shops to get thousand-dollar dresses and continues to tease Massimo.
There’s simply no way to discuss this film without comparing it to Fifty Shades of Grey, with the idea of allowing a handsome and rich man to get away with some heinous actions. The issue facing 365 Days comes from the obvious notion that Laura, in no way, consents to this kidnapping and eventual Stockholm Syndrome to fall in love with this man. At the very least, Anastasia in Fifty Shades agrees to this lengthy contract with the billionaire, Christian Grey. The incompetence of this film makes all three of the Fifty Shades films look like beautiful romances in comparison.
With it being an erotic film, the eventual sex scenes were a given, but it must be filled out with an actual story to experience other than the kidnapping. Throughout the story, we see Massimo talk with other people about “business” but nothing concrete ever comes up, except for one particular issue the film wants to ensure our handsome man would never involve himself in. As the leader of an Italian mafia, he despises those who partake in child trafficking. A noble stand for a man, who evidently engages in almost every other illicit behavior in the book and has no problem killing others for petty reasons. However, the film needed to find a way to make him more palatable than the other men, so it became his badge of honor. Something incredibly weak considering his behavior towards every woman in the entire film, especially the one he professes to love.
It becomes difficult to take 365 Days as something to simply enjoy for its two attractive leads teasing each other until they eventually consummate their attraction because it stands at nearly two hours of absolute nonsense. It sure does not help that the acting by these two attractive leads could only rival a cardboard box. They did just fine when speaking their native languages of Polish and Italian, but once they began speaking English, their delivery seems like something taken out of a parody skit. Too many times, I found myself screaming in laughter from their delivery rather than seeing something meant to be sexy.
365 Days cannot conjure any positive remarks from me, because on every level it fails as a feature and has an immensely problematic storyline. It’s almost like Beauty and the Beast, but the Beast attempted to sexually assault Belle at each turn and as an audience, we should be rooting for it. The story comes together as a heinous power fantasy only the most despicable men would enjoy because it gives them this false sense of power over women. I cannot fathom what anyone would find enjoyable about this film, from its horrible soundtrack laced together through laughable sequences and the most idiotic self-serious story I have seen in quite some time. Everything leads up to the magical sex sequences the two leads share marred by it being textbook Stockholm Syndrome. This is truly a horrifying feature, which celebrates predatory and abusive behavior and holds it up as something as a woman attempting to fix a truly vile man. A message needing to be buried and forgotten about in storytelling.