Michael Salmon’s “Goodbye Mondays” follows an increasingly dangerous situation faced by a maid named Lucy (Gillian Saker). After a frustrating encounter with her snobbish employer (who is currently sleeping with an unseen man in her bedroom), Lucy engages in a heated phone call downstairs with the woman’s real husband, who offers her a large sum of money to kill both his wife and the man she is having an affair with.
An escalation of events is developed with great strategy from the start, as we are flooded with brightly white, porcelain lighting and mise-en-scene that is flushed, almost sanitized, in its color palette. Contrast this with a brief intervention of darkly saturated, reddish lighting from within the woman’s bedroom and a nice foreshadowing of violence is established.
Saker gives a stoic performance that cracks with fragility, paying due attention to all facets of her character: the newly-hired innocence, the growing desperation, and the festering vengefulness. The voice of Adrian Schiller as the woman’s husband commands both Saker’s character and the dramatic action itself, delivering a smooth-talking, persuasive devil of a presence. He, too, has moments of fragility and rage, which is probably why he and Saker create a striking dynamic together, even with the former being unseen for the duration of the film.
By the final moments of “Goodbye Mondays,” we are left with the callousness of such an extreme ultimatum, along with the implied consequences that Saker’s character will face after having carried out someone else’s criminal intent. While her motivations perhaps could have been established with more tactfulness and deliberation, especially considering the actions she eventually performs, the film’s cinematographic and performative strengths nevertheless propel this twisted series of events in a captivating way.