Our Day Will Come (Notre jour viendra): Movie Review

Initially electric but ultimately clunky study of two French misfits on the road in a cold modern France.

Vincent Cassel stars in Romain Gavras' -- son of Costa -- directorial debut, initially electric but an ultimately clunky film.

A pulsating road movie driven by two anarchistic a-holes who go off the deep end in their own inscrutable way, Our Day Will Come speeds along for a while on the fumes of its own audacity until it can no longer hide the lack of coherent ideas in the tank. Debuting director Romain Gavras, son of Costa, expends indisputable energy and talent on a concept that feels seriously under-realized but is boosted by the always electric presence of lead actor Vincent Cassel, who also co-produced and whose name could take this into at least a measure of foreign release.

“Entertaining” by virtue of the extremes to which the main character deliberately breaches normal standards of public etiquette, Day centers on a man whose assaultive behavior and calculated racial and sexual taunts are driven by rage and frustration of unspecified origin. A jaded psychotherapist by trade, the middle-aged Patrick (Cassel), who has the air of a decomposing dandy, cruises around one night and finds Remy (Eric Barthelemy), a hulking child/man who resembles a cross between Jesse Eisenberg and the Frankenstein monster.

Instead of just admitting that the bullying and name-calling he's been subjected to all his life stem from his being a flat-out anti-social weirdo, Remy blames his persecution on his red hair (actually black with a rusty dusting). Although Patrick's hair is now a graying blend of unidentifiable colors, he may once have been a redhead too, so Remy willingly tags along on a drive along the depressing roads of industrial northern France, stopping at a videogame den that resembles a vampire lair, enduring gay taunts from Patrick and winding up in a coastal cafe where the older man picks a fight with some Arabs.

With the guys having passed the night without sleeping, there's more of the same the next day, with some ominous turns; seemingly emboldened by Patrick's brash example, Remy reveals a secret messiah complex and announces his desire to take a ferry from Calais to Ireland, which he perceives as the natural home of redheads. As Patrick falls into a unexplained funk, Remy begins acting out with great aggression, acquiring a crossbow he thereafter totes everywhere, threatening everyone. Without money, they check into a fancy hotel, where Patrick proceeds to mess around with three very young topless girls while a predatory gay vibe registers between Remy and the Tom Cruise-like bellman.

When deadly violence ultimately erupts, it seems both inevitable and an easy out for Gavras and co-screenwriter Karim Boukercha. By letting weapons solve the dramatic problems, all the issues broached heretofore can be left entirely unexamined and unresolved, much to the film's detriment. The origins of Our Day Will Come lie in a music video Gavras directed called “Born Free,” which depicts redheads being singled out for persecution by the LAPD. While the redirection of prejudice is a clever enough idea for a short (and also served its didactic purpose in Joseph Losey's first film, The Boy With Green Hair, in 1948), it seems both arbitrary and almost ludicrously overworked here. Crackling and alive within individual scenes and enlivened by the insinuating edge Cassel puts on Patrick's outrageous misanthropy, this is a film with attitude and style that far outweigh the precision of its thinking and dramatic meaning.

Musical contributions are very effective, while the picture's single most outstanding element is specifically the nocturnal and early dawn exterior cinematography by Andre Chemetoff, which is breathtakingly vivid and atmospheric.

Venue: City of Light City of Angels Film Festival (Los Angeles)
Production: 120 Films, Les chauves-Souris (International sales: TF1)
Cast: Vincent Cassel, Olivier Barthelemy, Justine Lerooy, Boris Gamthety, Rodolphe Blanchet, Chloe Catoen
Director: Romain Gavras
Screenwriters: Romain Gavras, Karim Boukercha
Producers: Vincent Cassel, Eric Neve
Director of photography: Andre Chemetoff
Production designer: Christian Vallat
Editor: Benjamin Weill
Music: SebastiAn
90 minutes