It’s hard not to like Molly. First, it’s set in a post-apocalyptic land. The apocalypse is fertile landscape for someone with a creative mind. The ideas can range from the wasteland warrior driving a truck to a better place to a speeding train heading towards rebellion to a loner posing as a postal carrier to a father trying to get his son to the coast. One thing most apocalyptic movies have in common is the directors go for a gritty, dark tone. Directors Colinda Bongers and Thijs Meuwese chose to use bright comic book colors for their movie.
One draw back of bright colors is everything looks new. If it’s the apocalypse things should look old. At the very least things should look broken and abused. It may be a small detail, but the small details can sometime detract from the overall narrative. Fortunately there’s other things going for Molly than a brand new canteen hanging from a belt.
Molly has all the trappings of the post-apocalypse. Molly is the proto-typical wasteland warrior. She scavenges the land for food and supplies, has a loyal pet, and fights marauders and other bad types. Along the way she even manages to befriend an orphaned girl.
Whats’s an apocalypse without a lead bad guy? Deacon controls a small empire based on drugs and supplicant fighting. A supplicant is someone who has been drugged and turned into a zombie like creature. These creatures are thrown into a pit to fight each other to the death. It’s like Aunty Entity’s Thunderdome but without the wheel. Of course, Deacon wants Molly to fight in his pit.
Unlike a Max Rockatansky or Vic (He would be from A Boy and His Dog), Molly has some crazy comic book super powers to help her through the wasteland. How she got these powers is a mystery only hinted at during flash back scenes. The flashbacks show brief glimpses of experiments being conducted on her while she’s strapped to a table. Did the experiments create the powers or did she already have powers? We may find out the true cause in a sequel, but what we do know is her powers are activated under duress. We may also learn how her name has become legend.
Meuwese’s Molly is not perfect. The performance range from good to average. The stand out is Joost Bolt who plays the already mentioned Deacon. It feels like he had more fun playing the crazy than the other actors had with their roles.
The fight scenes are clunky. Maybe with a fight choreographer and more time to practice the fight scenes would have been more natural. As it is, you can actually see some of the the actors pause before swinging a sword and leaning in to take a punch.
On the positive side, the actors are allowed to fight. There’s no Marvel comic book movie quick edits or fast cuts like in the Transformers franchise. The viewer can actually tell whose fight whom. It’s refreshing to see a fight scene not chopped to bits. The camera is placed in one spot to let the scene play out. We don’t need multi-angle, fast cut fight scenes.
Molly, according to a recent tweet from Meuwese, is the directors first feature length movie. Don’t let the fact scare you away. A director’s first film should not be the basis for judging a director’s future career. No one could have guessed the first time director of Bad Taste would one day win an Oscar for Best Director. Is there anything about Dementia 13 that would make anyone think the director would direct the greatest American movie ever made?
Intentional or not, Molly feels like a throw back to the apocalyptic movies of the 80s (Think Blood of Heroes, Cyborg). That’s not a bad thing. Molly, like those movies, can be cheesy and silly at times. Molly is also a fun film. The fight scenes are entertaining, there’s a couple of special effect shots that are especially cool, and even the acting grows on you.
The second reason to like Molly, or at least give it a chance, is it’s an independent movie. Independent cinema is all about men and women with a shared vision and a can do attitude getting a movie made. Cinema lovers should support independent movies and independent movie makers as often as we can. The Avengers Part 4, the many Dwayne Johnson movies sure to come out, and all the other big budget blockbusters can take care of themselves.