That Day [Ce Jour-La] is a whimsical suspense thriller about the fine line between sanity and insanity.
Directed by Raoul Ruiz - who churns out movies like some people churn out TV shows - That Day has some fine moments although much of it feels a bit thin. Although, I should note, the film is not typical suspense comedy; being a Ruiz film it is in the realm of the surreal.
A young woman named Livia (Elsa Zylberstein) has inherited an extremely large sum of money from her mother. But she is rather simple-minded and naive so her family has decided not to tell her she is rich. They instead have decided to be complicit in her death which has been arranged by her estranged father (Michel Piccoli) who wants the money to pay off debts. With the help of a crooked psychiatrist he releases a psychopath from prison to pay a visit to the Estate where Livia resides.
The psychopath (Bernard Girarddeau) has a nasty reputation of killing everyone he comes into contact with. But - perhaps because Livia is rather loopy herself - he finds he likes her enough [especially after she takes a hammer to his head] that he decides not to kill her. Slowly various friends and relatives come to the estate and are subsequently chased and killed by the psychopath; often with a small knife.
Meanwhile the police chief and his partner have been told not to go to the Estate to help the young woman - so they simply wait out their time in a local restaurant where some of the other characters pass through before going to the Estate to be murdered.
That Day has a very cynical look at greed and corruption and it draws an ambiguous line between those we call sane and those who are insane. Livia and the psychopath are not sane but it becomes enjoyable to watch as they kill the greedy and corrupt sane members of the family.
That Day starts rather slowly and the two main characters are a bit annoying at first but in time the story loosens up, suspense builds and it becomes a good surreal comedy.
The video is presented in 1.85:1 and has been enhanced for 16 x 9 televisions. The light is a bit flat and the color is soft. The tranfer seems to be from video or a somewhat below par print - although it shows no signs of wear or tear.
Presented in French stereo with English subtitles. There is a good classical score that accompanies the film's suspense and humor.
There are no extras other than a trailer, a director bio and a truncated film list.
That Day is not Hitchcock as the jacket blurb says but it is a good French surreal suspense comedy that gets more entertaining as it goes on. The DVD looks and sounds good but not great. Recommended for Raoul Ruiz fans and anyone who like surreal suspense films.