"You can tell how people feel about French filmmaker Romain Gavras in an instant," writes David Fear, introducing his interview with the director. "Just mention the music videos he did for the techno group Justice or the recent M.I.A. song 'Born Free' (that'd be the one in which redheads are rounded up and summarily executed). Most people will either passionately proclaim he's one of the boldest, most brilliant young directors working in that form today, or go into an apoplectic rage, screaming that he's a provocateur who likes to push viewers' buttons. His directorial debut, Our Day Will Come, created a similar reaction among moviegoers at this year's Toronto Film Festival; walking out of the film's Sunday night premiere, you could hear people declaring that Gavras (the son of filmmaker Costa-Gavras) was a genius and that he deserved to get punched in the face."
Also in Time Out New York, Joshua Rothkopf finds the film "some serious problems: It's stunty and divorced from serious feeling. The vibe is very Harmony Korine. But in sections, there's a strong sense of euphoria and escape, and that might be enough."
"The spirit of Matthieu Kassovitz's La Haine is hovering all over the debut feature of Romain Gavras," writes Dan Fainaru in Screen. "The association begs to be made not only because Vincent Cassel stars in both of films, but also since Kassovitz, Cassel and Gavras are the founders of an artists' collective called Kourtrajme, sharing ideas and working together now for several years. Those who found La Haine to be significant and symptomatic, will be no less enthusiastic this time, but the rest may very well be put off by the dreary spectacle of the France's northern industrial coast and the arbitrary explosions of anti-social spite, as symbolic as they may pretend to be."
"Shockingly insipid," declares Scott Tobias at the AV Club. The film "follows a bullied redheaded teenager ([Olivier] Barthelemy) and an erratic redheaded guidance counselor (Cassel) as they flee a French village and amble towards Ireland, which a brochure posits as a paradise for their kind. It's most likely intended as a metaphor for immigration," but it "plays like an indie movie parody, with lot of inexplicably quirky behavior, pretentious detours, and a little unearned sentimentality for good measure."
"The film is like a loud warning bell for contemporary France, where racial and social tension is rife, fueled by the right wing rhetoric of President Sarkozy," counters Matt Riviera. "From La Haine to Dobermann, from Irreversible to this piece of jubilant, controlled anarchy: every few years a renegade film emerges as a 'fuck you' to the French filmmaking establishment... And it almost always stars Vincent Cassel. Its ambitions are limited and the absurd premise isn't developed as much as it should be, but Our Day Will Come is a coherent piece of agit-prop designed to rub people the wrong way. It's also a lot of fun."
"Not quite a genre film, not quite an arthouse film, Our Day Will Come is a powerful hybrid with a unique, sharply focused eye and a restlessly misanthropic sense of creativity," writes Todd Brown at Twitch. "In many ways Our Day Will Come is this year's Ex Drummer, an instant cult title in the making."
Update, 9/20: For Jordan Mintzer, writing in Variety, this is "basically a road bromance peppered with vicious beatings, sexual aggression and all manner of insults inflected upon Jews, Arabs, and women. Such malevolence is perhaps meant to be a critique of our brutal modern world, but the characters' behavior is so unjustified and the storyline so absurd, that its reflection on social tensions in France and elsewhere seems purely artificial."
Coverage of the coverage: Toronto 2010. For news and tips throughout the day every day, follow The Daily Notebook on Twitter and/or the RSS feed.