Molly (2017)

Molly (2017)
The Netherlands
Director – Colinda Bongers, Thijs Meuwese
Writer – Thijs Meuwese
Runtime – 91 minutes
The Annex
Get off the Road
Artsploitation Films 
 In the blink of an eye a blinding flash leaves a picturesque landscape, and the world, changed forever. Enter a mysterious backpack laden youth frantically running from a pair of exuberant scantily clad gents. It’s uncertain why,  but they seem intent on capture and a little fun rather than injury, homicide or something entirely more sinister. Trapped, the youth scrambles and scraps for her survival and in doing so proves she’s more than the pair bargained for.
Fast forward some, the youths name is revealed, as too snippets of her backstory, via a series of jarring flashbacks. Apparently Mollys current situaton, physical and mental state is the result of a series of experiments (not a huge spoiler that!). Admittedly she’s a little different than most. For starters, she’s alive, brave, careful and highly ingenious.
Nope, it just appears as if she might be wearing skates 
Word has got around that she’s “unique” in certain regards and she’s wanted. Her traits are a commodity as there’s a vicious game above all others, a live event that keeps its host clothed feed and healthy. There’s ‘money’ to be made with a prized participant/combatant. Brutality reigns in this sport and life is dispensable. Currency has changed radically, money is null and void. Bullets are “gold”, obviously clean drinkable water is highly sought after but it’s damn sight easier to barter with shiny objects (in this case laden with gunpowder) that fit in the palm of the hand. It goes without mentioning that aqua is less likely to stop a horde of scavengers, enough would do the trick for sure, though tsunamis are understandably in short supply and even harder to control.

Dear, did you remember to turn the sprinklers off? Apparently, we won’t be needing them for some time to come.
That, in short, is the synopsis and though it sounds very much like an entry from the Mad Max franchise, in which Tina Turner took part, it bears drastic differences.
Molly sports a budget dwarfed by even the most unassuming of Hollywood affair, it wasn’t shot in the ‘Land Down Under’. Desert landscapes are featured as too what appears to be a collective of marine observation posts which much like oil derrigs  are set above the water far from land. An exciting locale (bringing to mind Waterworld obviously) which brings up a query I had while watching – where was the powered equipment to get one there, nothing is ever shown. A small qualm seriously which others might seriously blow out of proportion.
Strangely, Molly doesn’t boast a limited color scheme bolstered by muted tones notably greys and browns. The film is surprisingly colorful as if to say hey, we’re in a shitty situation, there’s no doubt about it, but there is hope, keep your chin up. A surprising approach and a nice touch in direct contrast to the majority of other doim laden, depressive apocalyptic cinematic affairs on offer.
And the award for the most depressing apocalyptic movie goes to…
Another striking difference that’s unmistakable is the fact that Molly doesn’t rely on chereographed performances, most noticable in the combat department. In this regard I’d hasten a guess that a large portion of this film was improvised. Molly isn’t a trained fighter, she isn’t ex-military or especially fit and it’s safe to assume that she hasn’t an array of framed accolades and colorful belts in her wardrobe or adorning her walls (obviously, as she’s currently “homeless”, duh!) Molly struggles, trips, scrambles and claws her way to victory to survive another dsy making her only that much more relateable to those of us who do the same in our everyday paycheck to paycheck existence. Other prominent characters featured are also applaudably unpolished. Mistakes are human, commonplace and dialogue exchanges are honest and raw. And this is what makes Molly fun. Although one has to enter sans Hollywood natured, epic production values, cinematic assumptions to be to fully appreciate what it has to offer.
The finale is one long exhausting continous shot (thirty-two minutes for those interested). A flowing scene that twists, turns, spins and changes perspectives. A commendable feat (on both ends of the camera) in actuality that places the viewer in all the action. In one instant the viewer is in the protagonists shoes and in the next journeying through several hallways and rooms to display the anxiety of the main antagonist looking to his cohorts for ideas and support as threats to usurp him from his seat of power loom ever closer.
Don’t fuk with me. I’m hungry!
Striking performances make this film stand out, and the audience appreciate the films setting all the more, most notably Julia Batelaan as Molly, a character struggling not only with her situation, desolation and loneliness but also with her mysterious ‘abilities’. There are of course other character portrayals which are questionable and acting which isn’t great, though this all adds to the fun of the enjoyment and the somewhat raw appeal of the viewing experience of lower budget cinema which I for one am a huge fan of.
There, I’ve managed to lay down my thoughts without offering spoilers which makes Molly a worth while view. Although Molly is in part predictable, based on the content of films of the same nature, it doesn’t for the most part follow the same parameters an element which makes it an addition to the genre worthy of exploring. And it even leaves the ending wide open begging for a sequel if the need, or demand, ever arises.
Japanese poster art for those who enjoy such things
Molly is currently available on Blu-ray, DVD and on demand.

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