Caution: contains spoilers.
Good morning Twisties,
If you've been listening to the media news lately, there is a raunchy, controversial erotic thriller out on Netfiix called 365 Dni (365 Days). Having heard of it dubbed as the next thing to Fifty Shades Of Grey, I decided to give it a go.
So the story goes, 365 Dni is a new international movie in both Italian and Polish (although most of the movie is in English). Don Massimo Torricelli (played by Michele Morrone) is the Sicilian mafia boss heart throb who falls for a Polish girl, Laura Biel (Anna-Maria Sieklucka) after seeing her from the rooftop of his father's residency. This movie has sparked controversy worldwide for glorifying rape and sexual assault, and singer Duffy even accused the movie of glorifying sex trafficking.
A little bit of backstory on me, I've done some minor work in stageplay, both on stage and behind the scenes. It was never even close to Hollywood, but it was certainly more convincing than what I watched on Monday. As someone who prides herself on helping educate curious minds in BDSM, I also felt that it was paramount I gave this movie a go. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I decided that I needed to be clued up with the latest goings on so that I can discuss it on my blog, Below, I'll be sharing with you my 15 thoughts on the movie. These pointers contain plenty of spoilers, so if you still plan on watching the movie, I'd look away now.
1. Massimo's Father's Death
The movie starts out on the coast of Sicily. As Massimo's father attempts to negotiate a deal in which a group of young girls will be imported to serve as slaves, Massimo is brooding in the background and notices Laura, who he decides to observe from afar. Noticing that he is distracted, Massimo's father reminds him that one day soon, the estate shall be his and as such, he should be paying attention to the business, not to girls. At that exact point, Massimo's father is shot through the heart. It's almost as though he knew it was coming..
2. The Controversial Blowjob Scene
Masssimo travels to the United States onboard a private jet. On his way there, Massimo fancies himself something and forces an air stewardess to perform fellatio on him. It's bad enough that this scene involves sexual assault, it's made far worse by being excessively long with slurping sounds, camera angles that capture more than enough of the not-actually-real action and Massimo's sex face. Not only is it uncomfortable insofar as being a forced sex act, it's also incredibly pornographic.
3. Massimo Drugs Laura
"You had a bad reaction to the sedative". Wait, what? This isn't sexy, this is kidnap, through and through. I'm all for whatever people want to do or use in their scenes, but Laura hasn't consented to any of this.
4. Laura Is Just Annoying
A lot of people didn't like Anastasia Steele, and that's fine, but to me, Laura is a lot worse. Laura doesn't want to be with Massimo, so she tries to escape him. She's fiery and tempestuous, and when he places an ice cube in her mouth to hydrate her, she spits it at him and tells him "go suck it yourself". When Laura doesn't get her way, she resorts to acting up, really acting up. When Massimo ignores her during a business meeting, she decides to go bath in a fountain. When he ignores her at one of his nightclubs, she starts tormenting him and narrowly gets herself raped, a fate that she blames him for. Laura isn't empowered, she is just a high-maintenance individual with a serious attitude problem.
By our estimations, a good 10% of the movie is just Laura brooding out of of windows, so much so, that Wolfie even said "Windows" would be a perfectly good name for the film. Sometimes she's smiling and up to mischief, and other times she looks angry. Whatever it is, Laura spends a lot of time deep in thought, and the camera captures it all.
6. Massimo Is Overly Aggressive
Laura tries to run from him, Massimo grabs her back and throws her against the wall. Laura grabs his gun from him, Massimo twists her arm behind her back and takes it from her. Laura is cheeky to him, Massimo grabs her by the throat and calls her "babygirl". Again, if you consent to such rough handling then fine, you do you. Laura hasn't agreed to any such treatment, though. If anything, Laura is still trying to escape. Even when she manages to escape him and asks two police officers for help, they leave her with him (things that would never happen in reality), to which he asks "Are you lost, babygirl?" and starts pulling her around. Everytime Massimo doesn't get his way, he resorts to physical violence. That's not a hot, sexy, Dominant, that's abuse.
7. Massimo Makes Christian Grey's Controlling Tendencies Look Nice
So a lot of people talk about Christian Grey being controlling, and that's fine, I get that. He tracks Anastasia's phone when she gets drunk and has a dossier with everything about her, the flipside of that though is that he provides Anastasia with a Blackberry, a laptop and a car, all things he insists will keep her safe. Quite the contrary, when Laura asks Massimo for a laptop, he refuses her until he feels that she has earned it. Here, Massimo makes Christian Grey look like a perfect gentleman.
8. The Only Bondage Scene Was Non-Consensual
Ookay lovelies, we all know what we came here for. You heard this movie was like Fifty Shades and you thought you'd check it out for more hot, kinky sex action, didn't you? Well, it's not like Fifty Shades, not a dime. In Fifty Shades of Grey, Christian says to Anastasia "The helicopter is on stand-by to take you whenever you want to go, you can stay the night and go home in the morning. It's fine whatever you decide". Anastasia is free to leave, but she is there of her own free will. In 365 Dni, Massimo has somehow (we don't get to know how) locked the door and once again, Laura is stuck in a hellhole situation with Massimo. Without warning, he binds her in full restraints as Laura kicks out and tries to free herself from him, because she really doesn't want to be there, not because of some consensual non-consent scene. Laura tries to kick him and the spreader bar between her legs locks open. "I was hoping that you would do that," Massimo breathes, "do you realise that right now, I have access to every bit of your body?". He's angry and it shows. He's not having fun, he is teaching Laura a lesson by means of physical force. Cut!
9. Another Controversial Blowjob!
Dear God, I must have counted at least three, possibly even four blowjobs in this movie. We get it, Massimo likes his cock sucked, but don't most men? One would have been fine, two, okay, but three or more? Come on now.
In this scene, Laura is still in bondage and a scantily clad woman struts in and walks over to wear Massimo is sitting. She drops to her knees, performs fellatio on him and rubs his seed off of her bottom lip with her thumb. That's the conclusion of every blowjob scene, the "I spilled a bit" thumb wipe, the eye contact, the kind of shit you only see in... uhh.. porn. This scene is, again, nothing that Laura has consented to. "Do you see what you are missing?" Massimo asks her. Yeah, an abusive, egotistical creep. She's not missing out on anything buddy, trust me.
10. There Is A Lot Of (Bad) Sex
You kind of expected sex in Fifty Shades, but this was waay more than that. This was porn, this was just 2000's porn, relived. You know the kind of porn with the terrible storyline and the really bad acting which tells only a touch of the story so that they can get down to business and fuck? It was like that.
Right at the beginning, during the airplane blowjob, Laura is also refused sex by her boyfriend so she takes herself to bed and pleasures herself. Not only do we get to watch Massimo empty his balls into the mouth of a reluctant air hostess, we also get to watch Laura pleasure herself, too. The sex starts even before the movie really does!
11. Massimo's Cum Face
Oh my goodness, a quick shot would have been fine, but it was him, then her, then him, then her.. It was like watching two people fuck. Two people you don't want to watch fuck, fuck. Massimo starts puffing and panting and we got to the point that Wolfie suddenly declares "woo woo!". According to him, the puffing and panting went on for so long that Massimo sounded more like a steam train. There is a lot of focus on their faces, they are incredibly pornographic and unrealistic, and the fact that you know they're both faking it just makes it worse. They're not only faking it, they're faking it, badly.
12. The Movie Just Looks An Awful Lot Like Fifty Shades
The comparisons are limitless. "You insist of defying me, Mrs Grey, what should I do about that?" Christian Grey asks in Fifty Shades Freed, "Why are you so disobedient?" Massimo asks in 365 Dni. He's brooding, he's heavy-breathing and he's dark. We get it, buddy. We know who you're supposed to be.
In another scene, they're breezing across the Medittereanean sea in a yacht and your head starts thinking 'I've seen a scene like this before'. Well yeah, you have, because it's a lot like Fifty Shades Darker when Christian takes Anastasia sailing on the Sound. After another fuckfest, Massimo then dives into the water to cool off and tells Laura that they are going to a ball, a ball to which Laura wears a silver dress, a fur boa, an eye mask and gets her hair done up by two (rather than one) camp men. When they arrive at the ball, they walk arm in arm past some fire-breathers, have a dance together and bump into Massimo's ex who, surprise surpise, hates Laura. Massimo proposes in bed and Laura is pregnant with Massimo's child at a really inconvenient time. Where have we seen all of that before?
13. There Is Far Too Much Sex Towards The End
Remember that yacht I mentioned just now? Well yeah, before the ball, there is an entire fuckfest that ensues. It's not just a quick shag in the yacht's bedroom, ooh no, we get a good three to five minutes of them going at it. We get him licking her tits and spitting on her pussy, all to make these sex scenes conceivable. You know the panoramic of Seattle as they fly in the helicopter in Fifty Shades of Grey? In 365 Dni, it's been replaced with a panoramic over the city while they fuck three ways in the floor-to-ceiling window in Laura's high-rise apartment, complete with plenty of distant shots of the action. It's not a hot and sexy movie, it's the porn you didn't imagine watching, and didn't plan to watch. You watched it for some hot and kinky action and now you're watching two people fuck in the most gaudy way possible. It's not even real sex, just badly acted, which makes you wonder whether either of these two actors have ever had sex at all. Oh, and she then tells him she loves him, so they fuck at least three more times on the open deck of the yacht. We get it, they like to have sex, not even Austin Powers is this bad.
14. The Sudden Changes In Language
Throughout the film, most exchanges are in English, but every so often there are parts in Italian or Polish, including a lengthy scene back in Poland which is suddenly purely in Polish, and subtitled in English. It makes the whole movie hard to watch. One change of language would be fine, but trying to remember what's supposed to be in Sicily, what's in the USA and what's meant to be in Poland can make the whole film hard to follow.
15. The Acting... Ooh, The Acting
Before the yacht shagathon, Massimo and Laura fight about the way Laura behaved in the nightclub. Again, it's not really clear, but the man who was about to attempt to rape her was a member of a rival family. Of course Massimo rocks up, and with one swift pull of the trigger, he lands the opposition. Having now been put in a compromising position, Massimo decides to lecture Laura, they argue and a fight breaks out on the front deck of his yacht. Laura breaks free from Massimo's grip and tumbles off of the boat and into the sea. "Fuck!" Massimo exclaims, and dives in a swan-dive-turned-belly-flop into the deep blue sea. It's so painful, you even hear the pitiful squeak of the sole Massimo's shoe as it begs not to be a part of the show. Even though Massimo helps Laura back onto the diving platform of the boat, he is still all over his precious Laura. Even though she's conscious and breathing, he still lays her out to assess her before scooping up a not-very-weak Laura and carrying her off to bed to rest. When she wakes up, point 13 on my list ensues.
After revealing his 'surprise' of a ball to Laura, Laura seems somehow taken aback by the idea. "A Ball? Holy fuck! But I have nothing to wear!" Laura exclaims. It's like she knew she would have nothing to wear, because.. umm... didn't Anastasia have nothing to wear, too? It's like she knew she was about to be made over into some glamourpuss model to attend the masked ball and as such, not having something to wear would be the least of her concerns. She didn't have to worry about not having anything to wear, all the had to do was get through this scene and try to make it all seem convincing.
Towards the end of the movie, there is some suggestion that Laura has been kidnapped and is about to be murdered. It's not really clear, she's just been to try on a wedding dress and is now on her way back to Massimo. All of a sudden, we see Mario (Massimo's assistant/bodyguard) running along the grass in a bid to find Massimo and warn him of Laura's demise. As he runs, he throws his arms around in circles and stumbles over seemingly nothing. It's almost as if, you know, he's not meant to reach Massimo so that Laura really is kidnapped and we'll tune in for the next movie. It's not a cliff hanger situation, it's just a really poor attempt at creating one.
Let me just say this: I walked out of the end of Fifty Shades of Grey, but I walked out because I too remembered belting scenes with my husband and how intense they used to be. I felt overcome with emotion, I remembered the confusion, and I needed some time to compose myself. With 365 Dni, I walked out because I felt sick. I walked out during the one and only bondage scene, when I thought that Massimo was actually about to rape Laura. As a sexual assault survivor, even acted rape is highly unpalatable.
The story was confusing, the acting was questionable and the sex was embarrassing at best. It was so pitiful that it reminded me of the groups of boys in my school drama class who would prat about for the lesson, chase one another around for a minute and then declare "that's it" when they'd had nothing with any story to go by. Laura was acting up, then she hated Massimo, then she was acting up again before falling in love and fucking his brains out. The whole film made little if any sense.
I understand that this film is international, but it's a wonder to me that it's not been pressed by E.L. Jame's for a breach of copyright. This isn't an original artwork, at best it is a B-list movie by someone who is trying to bank off of the successes of Fifty Shades by creating something uncannily like it using a bunch of little-known actors. It's awkward, it's uncomfortable and above all else, it's essentially what Fifty Shades of Grey might have been had Taylor-Johnson not filtered out most of the sex. Do yourself a favour, lovelies, and sit this one out.
Have you seen 365 Dni yet? What did you think? I'd love to hear your opinions in the comments!
Until next time,
Stay safe & have fun,