Directed by Frida Kempff.
Written by Emma Broström, Johan Theorin (novel).
Starring Cecilia Milocco, Albin Grenholm, Ville Virtanen, Krister Kern, Alexander Salzberger, Charlotta Åkerblom, Tobias Almborg
After being released from an extended stay at a mental hospital, Molly (played by Cecilia Milocco) is set up with an apartment and a weekly check in to see how she is doing. Molly suffered a tragic loss of her partner which caused her mental break and while she continues to feel the loss, she is convinced that this is a new start for her. Almost immediately, though, Molly begins to hear knocking on her ceiling that begins increasing in volume and intensity as the nights pass. When the police fail to listen to her, Molly slips on her detective hat and begins investigating her neighbors to see if someone is trapped in one of the apartments above her or maybe Molly is not as well as she claims to be.
KNOCKING is a sssslllloooooooowwwww movie. I think it would have made for an interesting short film but extended to feature length is the thing that really killed KNOCKING for me. There are long moments where we follow Molly though her day-to-day routine, interacting with grocery store clerks, her therapist, and making small talk with her neighbors. When the knocking begins chipping away at Molly’s mind, these scenes are interesting, but grow tiresome because there really isn’t any variation. It’s just knocking. My radiator knocks. My pipes knock sometimes. I’m sure the same thing happens in older apartments like the one Molly is living in. So having Molly jump to conclusions that there is someone dying and need help feels like a large leap in logic in the offset.
While it is tedious to endure, I do have to commend Milocco for playing a genuinely compelling character. Her panic is directly tied with the way she suddenly lost her partner and her feelings of guilt for not being able to be there for her partner when she needed her most. So while it is understandable that Molly becomes so invested so quickly. That doesn’t make the slow process of Molly going mad any more watchable, but it does make sense in the long run. If there is anything worth recognizing, it’s Milocco’s performance and the convincingly slow descent into madness. That said, I do feel there could have been more done to keep the story flowing at a brisker and more interesting pace.
Relying solely on a single strong performance is something that often happens in small budget films. It just feels like more should have happened to make the time I spent with KNOCKING worthwhile. It’s well made, well-acted, and in the end, turns out to be an interesting statement about the quieting of the voices of the mentally ill. Still, I just couldn’t help but check my watch over and over to see when this one was going to wrap up. Unless you have the patience muscles of steel, KNOCKING is going to be a rough watch for you.