Two Dramas from eOne Films
The Kid with a Bike (March 2/12)
From Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne comes this typically subdued story about a young boy (Thomas Doret's Cyril) who is left at a state-run home for adolescents by his deadbeat father (Jérémie Renier's Guy), with the film subsequently detailing the love-hate relationship that ensues between Cyril and his well-meaning foster mother (Cécile De France's Samantha). The Kid with a Bike, for the most part, comes off as a consistently familiar and hopelessly routine effort from the Dardenne brothers, as the siblings have infused the proceedings with virtually all of the elements that one has come to expect from their output - including a handheld, documentary-like visual style, uniformly naturalistic performances, and an underlying emphasis on an important social issue. It is, as such, virtually impossible to wholeheartedly connect to either the low-key characters or wafer-thin storyline, with the movie's hands-off atmosphere ensuring that Cyril is never able to become the engrossing or even sympathetic figure that the Dardennes have obviously intended (ie the boy, generally speaking, remains off-putting from start to finish). And although the picture has admittedly been peppered with a few affecting moments (eg Cyril's father explains, in no uncertain terms, that he never wants to see him again), The Kid with a Bike only grows more and more tedious as it unfolds and it's finally impossible to label the film as anything beyond a rote, disappointingly conventional piece of work.
Our Day Will Come (March 5/12)
A truly inexplicable piece of work, Our Day Will Come follows a put-upon teenager (Olivier Barthelemy's Rémy) and a jaded psychiatrist (Vincent Cassel's Patrick) as they embark on an increasingly violent road trip to Ireland. Director Romain Gavras has infused the early part of Our Day Will Come with an off-kilter feel that proves impossible to resist, with the deadpan, relentlessly oddball atmosphere perpetuated by the episodic nature of Gavras and Karim Boukercha's screenplay. There is, as such, little doubt that the movie initially succeeds based on the strength of its stand-alone comedic interludes (eg Patrick instigates a fight with three burly Arabs), with the unevenness of the narrative, at the outset, not quite as troublesome as one might've anticipated. It's clear, however, that Gavras' progressively avant-garde sensibilities grow more and more problematic as time marches on, as the filmmaker's decision to emphasize sequences of a decidedly underwhelming nature (eg Rémy and Patrick frolick with several youths at an closed supermarket) results in a lack of momentum that's ultimately nothing short of disastrous. The degree to which Our Day Will Come consequently fizzles out is rather astonishing, with the movie's absolutely interminable second half effectively diminishing the impact of its quizzically epic finale and cementing its place as a wholeheartedly misguided endeavor.