Top positive review
12 people found this helpful
on 6 September 2010
There are certain films (Pepe le Moko, the Marius trilogy, Le Crime du M. Lange, Le Quai des Brumes) that could only have been made at a certain time and in a certain place - France in the 1930's. "Jour" is one of them. It has all the ingredients that made certain French films of the epoch so very special - breathtakingly beautiful photography, a deceptively simple plot, wonderful acting and that particular cinematic flair, made up of an admixture of elements such as filmic elan, note-perfect acting and understated scripting, that only the French were capable of, and which no-one has even come close to since.
The plot, on the face of it, is simple. Man shoots other man for unknown reasons and then waits, holed up in a bedsit, for the Police to come at daybreak and seal his fate. He reviews the events that have led to this impasse. As in all the best films, things aren't what they initially appear to be, and the actions, feelings and motivations of the various characters unfold as the film progresses, sometimes quite surprisingly.
Jean Gabin puts in what is arguably his finest performance. Jules Berry is a suitably lubricious and plausible villain, while Arletty is spot-on as the world-weary woman who's been round the block of life a few times too many.
If you're unacquainted with the magic of French films of this period and want to give it a try, you won't go far wrong with this one.