The story of Jacques Mesrine, France's public enemy No. 1 during the 1970s. After nearly two decades of legendary criminal feats - from multiple bank robberies and to prison breaks. Written by
The filming of this and Mesrine Part 1: Killer Instinct (2008), which lasted nine straight months, was done in reverse chronological order so that Vincent Cassel could progressively lose the weight he gained in preparation of the role, as Cassel knew he couldn't gain weight while filming. See more »
When Mesrine arrives in Montreal, a plane view of the city shows St Helen island on St Laurent river. One can see briefly a local theme park which was built in 2006. See more »
La journaliste interview:
Why are you doing this?
Because I don't like laws.
I don't like the laws and I don't want to be a slave of the alarm clock my whole life.
I don't want to spend my entire life dreaming. I don't want to always think how I have to work half a year just so I could buy some thing.
La journaliste interview:
What do you expect from your life? Recognition? Money?
What a question! Money, money, money... all of you just keep talking about it, always the same. But I'm completely different.
[...] See more »
Cassel still dazzles as 'Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1'
Once gain directed by Jean-François Richet, Mesrine: Public Enemy No.1 (Part 2) continues on from Mesrine: Killer Instinct (Part 1) the outlaw odyssey of Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassel), the legendary French gangster of the 1960s and 1970s who came to be known as French Public Enemy No. 1 and The Man of a Thousand Faces. Essentially, this film focuses on the latter half of Mesrine's life, based on Mesrine's memoirs. Whereas the first film focused on Mesrine's rise from the average joe to a big time criminal, this film shows the events after Mesrine has been declared Public Enemy No.1 in France, and then his eventual demise. (My review of Part 1 is here.) In this film, Mesrine appears to have gained some weight and seems to be balding. He is also at the height of his game and notoriety. He has been playing the media, which has been labeling him a "Robin Hood," of sorts. Meanwhile, he has been declared "Public Enemy No.1" in France. One can guess that things will start to go downhill for him. As indicated in the first film, Mesrine will eventually be gunned down.
The visuals are grittier this time around, more modern, and much of the action takes place in the city. As opposed to the deep reds and greens of the first film, the modern environment is more gray with contrasts. The first film felt more "old school" Hollywood. It is more modern here. We now see more sideburns.
My complaint for the first film was that it felt episodic and crammed together as we watched Mesrine going from one caper to the next across a span of many years, sometimes almost like a documentary. This time, the film takes place mostly in the 70's and a less condensed period of time. The pacing is noticeably more even. More importantly, we also get to see more aspects of Mesrine's personality, his thoughts, and there are occasional contemplative scenes. If the first film was more action-driven, this one feels more character-driven.
Vincent Cassel is terrific as usual playing Mesrine, and here, he is now the man people know him for, he is more comfortable in his skin, confident, and has more wisecracks to dish out. Proud of his growing notoriety and his ability to manipulate the media, Mesrine appears to be having a lot of fun here as well as Cassel playing him. Olivier Gourmet plays Le commissaire Broussard, who is leading a task force to apprehend Mesrine. Broussard and Mesrine appear to have a respectful mutual understanding of each other. Broussard appears relaxed and fairly controlled most of the time, and compared to the vast emotional range of Mesrine, Broussard can feel a bit two dimensional. Matthieu Amalric is terrific as the bulgy-eyed French criminal named François Besse, a master of prison-escapes, whom Mesrine befriends in prison. After helping Mesrine escape, Besse and Mesrine begin working together in their heists. Besse is essentially the opposite of Mesrine--he is efficient, intelligent, lacks showmanship, and takes his work more seriously. There's a revealing moment in the film where Mesrine argues with Besse about their end goals.
Mesrine has also gotten a new woman, Sylvia (Ludivine Sagnier), who becomes a bit of a Bonnie to his Clyde in his heists. There's a bit of familiar glamour and lightness to the film when they dress up and start spending the money away. Cue the happy music and the lady trying on expensive hats. As in the first film, these moments are contrasted with Mesrine's violent side. The darkest moment in the film is when Mesrine's partners up with the politically radical Charlie Bauer (Gerard Lanvin) and kidnaps and tortures a journalist who had written unflattering things about him. The scene is harsh and gritty.
Ultimately, the film's greatest asset is still Vincent Cassel's amazing performance and believability. The action scenes and the progression of events are solidly directed by Jean-François Richet. Admittedly, this film still feels rather episodic like the first film. But, it is deeper. A good, solid cap to the 2-part series.
*** 1/2 out of **** stars You can also follow my movie reviews on http://twitter.com/d_art
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