Mayday REVEW – Interesting Concept, Half Baked Execution

A siren song you can ignore.

Mayday 2021
Mayday 2021

Mayday touches upon topics of sexual assault and suicide. Discretion is advised.

Mayday follows the story of Ana (Grace Van Patten), who finds herself flung from her normal life into a fantasy world where she’s part of a never-ending war in which women lure men to their deaths. At first, she finds herself consumed by this new sense of power, but then realises that she isn’t the killer her comrades expect her to be.

Mayday is a very interesting project. There is this powerful idea in the film’s concept, about having a story centred around female empowerment in the face of misogynistic abuse mixed in with the fantasy escapism of Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch, sans the pandering to male sex appeal. However, whether Mayday succeeds in that is debatable. Personally, Mayday seems like the first draft of something that could have been much more hard hitting.

The cast of the film do a fantastic job with what they’re given. Most of the actors weren’t really recognizable, with the only real exceptions being French singer Soko as Gert, the previously mentioned Grace Van Patten who has appeared in The Sopranos, and Juliette Lewis from Dusk Till Dawn. However, they performed well enough with what they were given. The soundtrack does its job well enough, and Sam Levy’s cinematography is appealing, with the visuals keeping me enrapt throughout the running time.

However, the problems come in with the script. While the concept is great and the setup has a strong foundation, it slowly starts to crumble as Mayday goes on. It tends to lose focus at points, like an odd musical number towards the last half of the film which feels so out of place in comparison to the rest of the film’s tone. Plot points about assault and suicide are left vague, and while these are tough ideas to tackle, so is the theme that this movie centres around. Any information the audience is given about the main cast is surface level and not deep enough to provide any real level of investment. Where did these characters come from? What drives them to keep going in their ever-vengeful hunt against men who have hurt them? How did they come to meet each other? Questions like this keep piling up as the movie goes on and are frustratingly left unanswered.

And that is such a terrible shame, because when watching Mayday, you can tell by the costume designs, the cinematography, and even with the script that there was genuine passion and a desire to create something amazing. A 20th century Alice in Wonderland meets a spin on the Greek mythology of sirens who lure sailors to their death could have worked so well. Stories of women rebelling in the face of male oppression, and about finding solidarity in sisterhood have so much value in culture and cinema. Mayday could have been absolutely outstanding, and there are glimmers in there of something greater.

Mayday is a half-baked product of solid ideas and ambitions with problems that could have been solved at the production stage. Extra time dedicated to editing the script would’ve done wonders, because everything else in Mayday does its job at a satisfactory level or even to an outstanding degree. All the work that was put in to bring this fantasy world to life is fantastic, like the beached U-boat that the girls call home, or their costumes, which are a blend of dresses and WW2-esque uniforms. Personally, give this movie a watch for the visuals and maybe just to see what this movie could have been.

Review screener provided

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Mayday 2021
With a strong concept at its core, Mayday lacks any real development and only scratches the surface of something that could have been so much bigger and better.