Early promise is squandered in lackluster thriller
Who doesn’t love an engaging thriller with an interesting plot? Jumping into this Spanish Netflix Original, one would be under the impress that Under Her Control (La Jefa) would be just that. 10 minutes in, I instantly regretted my decision.
The movie starts with a typically unnecessary role-play sex scene in the middle of a work day. Given the history of Netflix for films with sex as its opening plot, I should have been wiser to know what the next two hours had in store for me!
Under Her Control initially seems interesting due to the mystery it creates, with a compelling trailer to boot. However, as the film progresses, the predictable plot held no surprises before finally ending on an extremely unsatisfactory note.
This movie tells the story of Sofia, an aspiring employee who wishes to pursue a career in the fashion industry. She is able to charm her female boss, Beatriz with her adept attitude in the business.
Sophia ideally has it all – a good life, and a loving partner, Hamid, who wishes for a stable future with her. However, she does not want the same things in life as him and one day when she falls pregnant, worries that her career will be ruined.
Beatriz takes her to the abortion clinic but since Sofia is a devout Catholic, she is unwilling to abort the child. Beatriz comes up with a plan and decides to adopt Sofia’s baby upon delivery, with Sofia willingly signing an agreement with her boss to let that happen.
The terms of the agreement involve Sofia being confined to the walls of Beatriz’s house where she controls her every single move and basically holds her hostage, away from Hamid and without contact with the rest of the world. It is only very late on, when Sofia comes back to her senses and wants out of the confines of Beatriz’s house but it seems like the boss has other plans.
Stories like this have a lot of potential which is why, getting into the movie, I was hopeful. Especially with the glimmers of an empowering story of Sofia being the badass aspiring model who wants to change things in her life without letting marriage or children stop her.
But it feels like the movie lost its way somewhere in the middle and the makers were unable to grasp the audience’s attention after that. The story jumps between Beatriz’s absurd desire for Sofia and her wish to exercise full control over her.
Initially, Sofia is calm and composed but as Beatriz’s true self starts to unravel, instead of being afraid and immediately trying to free her abuser, Sofia tries to reason with her. The powerful badass woman from the beginning of the movie turns into a naïve girl who is unable to find a way to flee from her kidnapper’s house when she is not heavily pregnant.
To think that Sofia chilled out for nine months before realizing she was being held hostage and hidden from the rest of the world is plainly absurd to me. Whoever thought making a nine-month pregnant woman climb a high fence, be electrocuted, and fall down from said fence without losing her child makes one wonder what went through the minds of the screenwriters of the movie.
The actors do the best they can with the story and it seems like the best actors cannot save a project like such.
We have all seen ideas revolving around a woman being held hostage or a case of Stockholm syndrome with a naïve main lead who somehow makes it out alive in the end despite losing everything she could have saved. This movie does nothing to deviate from those cliches.
Under Her Control fails to give viewers a thrill and none of the scenes cause intrigue. One thing leads to another, and to be honest you’ll probably anticipate the end long before the final credits.
Read More: Under Her Control Ending Explained
Verdict - 5/10