‘Monotonous‘ is a dry comedy from director Dennis Nap and we (the reviewer) admit it seemed quite strange. Two young men go from door to door and are trying to sell paintings made by one of them. It is unclear whether they are running a scheme or if they are really selling the paintings to pay university (we’d go for the scheme version) but it’s clear they are after the money. On their journey they arrive at the house of four strange sisters – again unclear whether they are all single or if they are widows but they are certainly all dressed in black like after a period of mourning. The house is big and has hunting trophies on the walls, traces of a whisky drinker or drinkers and other men stuff, so we recon there must have been men in their lives.
Anyway, they seem to be constantly getting bored and when the young men arrive they seem to resonate pretty easy with the idea of buying a painting. However, we were under the impression it was not the painting that they were really after but the young men who are filling a gap in existence of the sisters: the presence of a man… or two.
So being face to face with four black widows makes the two men pretty insecure, finding their reasons to flee. The four are left alone again with their boring lives and their perfectly synchronised …. ‘habits’.
Dennis Nap’s film is a bittersweet combination. The four mono-toned women (you’ve of course noticed our game of words) are convicted to a lonely life. Their mutual presence is able to make them survive by synchronising with each other but this is only at the surface; on a deeper level their living together equates with emotional numbness. Is where the title finds its reason too – monotonous, mono-toned; the four sisters wear all black clothes – inexpressive and flat like their own lives. The little things that each would love to do are annihilated and sacrificed for the better of the group: ‘should we…’ says one, ‘neaah!’ say the rest, ‘or maybe…’ says another, ‘neaah!’ go the rest again, and so on. So having each other is all the four sisters have and they’ve learned how to cope with sacrifice of own fads and caprices to stick and share the moments together.
The two young men find themselves caught in an ‘unsuitable’ environment when they sense the real condition of the four, while the four have had their little moment of escape from the boredom with the young men’s visit.
The high contrast between the characters and their opposite needs and intentions generate a dry humour regarding the results of each character’s expectations, while on a deeper understanding ‘Monotonous’ hides a sad truth about human condition… the price of loneliness.