Shot for the El Rey network’s REBEL WITHOUT A CREW, the team behind MONDAY had two major restrictions: a $7,000 budget and no crew. These restrictions seem like a stopping force when placed into the wrong hands, however, director Alejandro Montoya Marín makes it worth our wild with this adrenaline pumping, intoxicating good time.
From the first shot of black, you can get an intimate feel as to how the film will escalate and just how rapidly through the beneficial sound design in that one shot. The day begins when Jim first wakes, and it hardly ever slows down from there. This is assisted by the electrifying transitions between scenes, as they connect the scenes incredibly well without a staggering effect that showcases the exquisite editing on the film - resembling the likes of Edgar Wright’s brilliance in his editing. The action is fluent and never gives you much of a moment to breathe, making non-action scenes feel like they are just as inviting.
Quick witted and dry like a Clerks era Kevin Smith, but with a Crank-esque pace, this film makes every scene pulse pounding - even simply serving up a plate of meatloaf. There’s a lot to love about this short film; it’s about a man who loses everything in a day, apart from his best friend, and winds up having to evade his worst nightmare that same day - being killed. A pair of hit women are that nightmare as they chase after the film’s lead, Jim. The two are lacking in their development and carry most of the film’s minor problems, including several plot holes such as two discarded characters who disappear by the end credits. That aside, applause is needed for MarÍn’s incredibly effective storytelling about this man finding his way to becoming a “badass.”
The main characters are incredibly likable, and it’s just a shame that Jim (Jamie H. Chung) and Paul (Kenneth McGlothin) couldn’t have had a bit more time for backstory so that when they have an emotional scene in Paul’s shop, it could have fully delivered. The three villains of the film deliver their lines with an aggressive energy that causes the dialogue to suffer. One of the villain’s betrayal of her side seems to fall in the line of justice and “friendship,” however Jim and her never have enough time to gain this kind of relationship. There feels to be a slight wasted potential with the ex girlfriend character, but the final line of the film is still just as fulfilling, as if she was a little more fleshed out. Beyond a few gripes however, Monday’s characters are incredibly entertaining, and with a little more time to tell each of their stories, they all could be just as memorable as the next.
For a mere seven grand, Monday is beyond impressive. The design of the title, subtitles, and time stamps glow with vibrancy and send a volt of energy into the scenes in which they appear. Monday is visually pleasing and encourages the viewer to pay attention with its rapid pace and constantly changing scenery.
Emiliano Melis did an astounding job creating the score for Monday, and the featured music of The Black Kids, Primitive Radio Gods, Harlem, as well as many others creates a fantastically energetic experience that feels extraordinarily expensive to have produced. The sound design leaps off the screen, reaching out to you to continue onward in this energetic superficial fantasy.
If I had to fault this film for anything grand, it’d be that Monday is too short, as it teases the wonders that an extra thirty minutes could bring to it. This is a short film that is a phenomenal sampling of what the director can be capable of with a larger budget and a slightly longer runtime. The final product is fluid, exhilarating, and a great outlook into the future of cinema if this film was produced for so little yet appears profoundly exorbitant.