[Review] 'Molly' Takes A Tired Genre And Injects It Full Of Heart And Creativity

Post-apocalyptic films are all too common nowadays and sadly, I've begun to ignore most, but every now and then one comes along that grabs my attention. So, when I heard that Molly, from Dutch filmmakers Colinda Bongers and Thijs Meuwese, was a supposed mix of Turbo Kid and Mad Max, two of my favorite post-apocalyptic romps, I knew that I needed to check it out.

Like most offerings in the genre, the film begins in a ravaged wasteland where, bullets are currency, resources are scarce, and the majority of the human population consists of marauders and feral zombie-like beings. Gangs of marauders use these beings, which they call "supplicants," in pit fights to the death, earning them fame and resources. Deacon (Joost Bolt), the self-proclaimed leader of the gang, wants the very best supplicant so that he may continue his winning streak in the arena and further his rise to power and glory.

Molly (Julia Batelaan), a super-powered, teenage girl who's considered a legend of the wasteland, wanders the barren world alone, scavenging and surviving by any means. When Deacons crew spots Molly and news gets back to him, he sends out a search party to hunt and capture her so that he may inject her with the supplicant disease and create the first super-powered combatant. Of course, Molly doesn't plan on giving up without a fight.

In her travels, Molly comes in contact with Bailey (Emma de Paauw), a young girl who's living alone and waiting for her parent's unlikely return. A bond grows between the two and inevitably, Bailey is captured by Deacon's goons and taken back to their stronghold. Driven to protect the young girl, Molly gears up and takes the fight to the enemy's doorstep.

The first thing that I noticed and loved about Molly is it's use of colors, which are bright and vibrant, setting it apart from most of the dull and dreary apocalyptic landscapes featured in other films of this kind. Much like Mad Max: Fury Road, Molly is a rather beautiful film, despite being set in desolate badlands. The film's fight sequences are well choreographed and believable, these aren't fast-paced, action-packed Hollywood fight scenes, but rather inventive and creatively filmed bouts of wit and luck. Much like the fights found in Turbo Kid.

Another standout aspect of Molly is the titular character herself, she's just an average girl with powers that she doesn't fully understand, she's not a highly trained killing machine, making for a character that viewers can relate to and stand behind. Batelaan delivers an engaging and charismatic performance as the film's lead and though her character could've used a little more development, I found myself caring about her well-being.

As for the other performances in the film, it's kind of a mixed bag. I feel Dutch accented actors, speaking English contributed to this and I really wish that the filmmakers had chosen to keep the film's native language. I would like to highlight Annelies Appelhof's performance as Molly's nemesis and Deacon's lead goon, Kimmy. She really sold the character's coldness and all around bad-assery!

While Molly isn't a gory or bloody film by any means, it does have a very visceral and brutal feel to it. There's a creekside struggle between Molly and a supplicant that's rather intense and showcases the struggle to survive in the film's harsh environment. The film's final act is nearly one continuous fight scene through Deacon's abandoned oil platform, which serves as his lair. The camerawork through this sequence is especially fascinating to watch, establishing remarkable shots and focusing on the action that's unfolding on screen. The film's cinematography is very impressive in general. Sweeping aerial shots and single cut tracking sequences demand appreciation.

Overall, I had a good time with Molly and though it would've benefited from a little more backstory and character development, the film offers a unique and heartfelt experience for such an overly-saturated genre. I highly admire the filmmakers' desire to create such an ambitious project and I hope to see more of Molly in the future!

Molly is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD from Artsploitation Films.


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