Monday, August 22, 2011

DVD Review - Our Day Will Come (Notre jour viendra)

The Film

"We have no language, no army, no country!" Vincent Cassel shouts in Our Day Will Come. The oppressed minority group that he is issuing this rallying cry on behalf of is that of redheaded people, whom Romain Gavras identifies as an often humiliated and discriminated against group in his feature debut. Gavras has already built one piece of work around the idea of prejudice against redheads with his 2010 video for MIA's single Born Free sparking controversy over its scenes of ginger people being beaten, shot and blown up by the police. Our Day Will Come essentially expands upon and reinterprets that theme, but whereas the 8-minute video was rife with provocation, Gavras' ideas seem diluted when asked to support a feature running ten times that length.

What Our Day Will Come has in its favour is plenty of energy, and Gavras moves his story forward at a fair pace early on. His film is a road movie featuring two redheaded characters who decide to fight back against a world that is unfair and unkind to their people. Rémy (Olivier Barthelemy) is a young man who is the victim of bullying among his own teammates on the football team and demeaned by his mother and sister at home. Patrick (Cassel) is a disillusioned psychiatrist (he is shown early on being more interested in the crisps he's eating than the patient crying in front of him) called in to help Rémy after a violent outburst against his family but who instead joins him on his strange odyssey. The older man – Cassel is greying but with flashes of tell-tale red in his hair – teaches his young companion to stand up for himself, and he tries to help the sexually confused Rémy with women, and at some point the pair coalesce into a revolutionary team, leading the rebellion for gingers everywhere.

There are parallels to be drawn here with any society in which a minority has terrorised the majority (the slogan "our day will come" appears to have been lifted by Gavras from the IRA, and Ireland is seen throughout the film as a utopian safe haven for redheads), but the director's ideas don't appear fully formed, and neither do his characters. It's never clear what drives Rémy and Patrick beyond a vague sense of being wronged and ostracised by the world at large, and Barthelemy's performance doesn't bring much to the film. At least Cassel is on fine form, imbuing Patrick with an intensity that anchors the film at crucial points, with this excellent actor denoting changes in mood and intention with just his eyes, and the film as a whole should have taken its cue from him more often. Our Day Will Come needed to be darker and more daring to really make an impact on the audience; in short, it needed more of the focused maliciousness that characterised the MIA video. Instead, all we have is a series of overlong scenes in which Rémy and Patrick engage in various forms of antisocial behaviour before the film escalates into silliness in its final moments, with Gavras having given himself nowhere to go but over the top.

The Extras

The infamous video that inspired Our Day Will Come is viewable as a DVD extra, and there are two other Gavras-directed videos as well, for Justice's Stress and DJ Mehdi's Signatune. The 18-minute "making of" film goes behind the scenes on the shoot and talks to a few of the minor actors.

Our Day Will Come will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 22nd.

Buy Our Day Will Come here