Director Romain Gavras (most known internationally for his controversial video for the M.I.A. song “Born Free”) brings his gritty sensibilities to feature filmmaking with Our Day Will Come, a surprisingly entertaining, if uneven and often aimless, dark drama/comedy starring the great Vincent Cassel.
After assaulting his mother and running away, the alienated, frightened and introvert Remy (Oliver Barthelemy) meets up with the outspoken, violent and racist Patrick (Vincent Cassel) and together the two go on a wild and nihilistic road trip, with Remy’s ultimate goal being to cross over from France to Ireland on a ferry to be with other red-headed people like himself.
That last part should give you some insight, however slight, into the dark humour of Our Day Will Come. Making repeated references to the fact that Remy has red hair and thus is an “outcast” of sorts within his community, the film is more content – and indeed feels more in control – with wallowing in dark and irreverent conversational humour than it is presenting any major events which may or may not make a difference to the rest of Remy’s life. It is here where the film both succeeds and fails.
The above picture might give the wrong impression of the film – this is not about skinhead culture or even that much about racism. Sure, Cassel’s character is a racist (primarily towards Arabs) but it’s more to do with one overbearing, charismatic having inevitable influence and power over someone who is “weaker” than him.
The film isn’t necessarily about Cassel’s domineering Patrick (more how he affects the impressionable and unstable Remy) but it’s hard not to pay the most attention to him. Cassel has a unique presence – one which has allowed him to become successful in Hollywood as well as in his native France – and this is a juicy role for him that he grabs with both hands, stealing just about every scene he is in.
Just what it is Our Day Will Come is trying to say about youth culture, the potential influence of ones elders or even simply what it’s like to grow up being different isn’t always clear, and the film builds to an unnecessarily over-the-top conclusion. But when it works the film provides some shocking laughs, and if nothing else it’s worth seeking out for Cassel’s captivating performance alone.