Review: Filmic Curiosity 'A Full Day's Work' Worth a Look for Fans of Odd Black Comedy

by Frank J. Avella

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday September 28, 2021

"A Full Day's Work" (a.k.a. "Une Journee Bien Remplie") is subtitled: "Or 9 Bizarre Murders in 1 Day Committed by a Complete Amateur." And that is the basic premise of this French-Italian black comedy released in 1973.

Because the film is the darkest of comedies, do not look for much in terms of logic or even coherence. First-time director Jean-Louis Trintignant, known for his excellent acting in films like Bertolucci's "The Conformist," is telling a tale of revenge, pure and evil — and that is pretty much it. So, as the film unfolds, if you find yourself asking, "Is this what I am about to sit through? 88 minutes of insane ways of murdering 9 different people?," the answer is, "Yes." But the executions, pardon the pun, are wickedly fun, if borderline cartoonish.

Jacques Dufilho plays Jean Rousseau, a father who rides around on a motorcycle with his elderly mother (Luce Marquand), killing off a list of people while carrying around a photo of his dead 22-year-old son. (We find out later exactly who these nine people are, and how they are linked to the dead boy.) Each murder differs from the other, although we're never told why they're offed the way they're offed — which include being hung in a hospital bed, crushed by a car, and that oft-used car explosion.

The film's slow pacing and narrative redundancy does try one's patience, but then sequences like Rousseau accidentally near-killing the wrong person and reviving him help to breathe fresh life into the proceedings. There is also a neat sequence where actors are rehearsing for "Hamlet," although it seems to cut away before it should.

The movie reminded me of the much cleverer "Theatre of Blood" (another recent Kino title), where the script made more sense. Here, the screenwriters (Trintignant and Vincenzo Labella) are more fixated on the macabre ways in which the slaughter proceeds than the psychological reasons behind it.

The Blu-ray looks good. It's a 4K Restoration from the original camera negative, so perhaps it was just shot to look the way it does. There are no issues with sound.

Film critic and author Simon Abrams provides audio commentary, breaking down Trintignant's directing decisions, as well as the classical music choices used in the film.

"A Full Day's Work" is more a filmic curiosity than anything else, but worth a look for those who enjoy the odd black comedy.

Blu-ray Extras Include:

  • 4K Restoration from the Original Camera Negative
  • New Audio Commentary by Film Critic and Author Simon Abrams
  • Trailers

    "A Full Day's Work" ("One Journey Bien Remplie") will be available on Blu-ray September 28.

    Frank J. Avella is a film and theatre journalist and is thrilled to be writing for EDGE. He also contributes to Awards Daily and is the GALECA East Coast Rep. Frank is a recipient of a 2019 International Writers Retreat Residency at Arte Studio Ginestrelle (Assisi, Italy), a 2018 Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship, a 2016 Helene Wurlitzer Residency Grant and a 2015 NJ State Arts Council Fellowship Award. He is an award-winning screenwriter and playwright (CONSENT, LURED, SCREW THE COW, FIG JAM, VATICAN FALLS) and a proud member of the Dramatists Guild.