Mesrine Part 2: Public Enemy #1 (2008)

R   |    |  Action, Biography, Crime


Mesrine Part 2: Public Enemy #1 (2008) Poster

The story of notorious French gangster Jacques Mesrine.


7.5/10
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  • Vincent Cassel and Ludivine Sagnier in Mesrine Part 2: Public Enemy #1 (2008)
  • Vincent Cassel and Mathieu Amalric in Mesrine Part 2: Public Enemy #1 (2008)
  • Vincent Cassel in Mesrine Part 2: Public Enemy #1 (2008)
  • Vincent Cassel in Mesrine Part 2: Public Enemy #1 (2008)
  • Vincent Cassel and Héléna Soubeyrand in Mesrine Part 2: Public Enemy #1 (2008)
  • Mesrine Part 2: Public Enemy #1 (2008)

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Director:

Jean-François Richet

Writers:

Abdel Raouf Dafri (scenario), Abdel Raouf Dafri (adaptation), Jean-François Richet (adaptation)

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17 November 2010 | dharmendrasingh
9
| A man of principle; albeit criminal principle
'It's pronounced may-reen!' Jacques barks at a police officer for mispronouncing his name while recording a statement for one of his latest misdemeanours. Jacques now claims his crimes are politically motivated, but if anything, they have become less a means to an end than an end in themselves. Sustaining his role as France's number one outlaw becomes a vocation in itself.

As his weight increases, so too do his risks. He starts a tradition of stealing from one bank then immediately stealing from another; he cheekily goes incognito to a police station to obtain information they have about him; and he even kidnaps a judge whilst on trial for yet another bank robbery.

It can't have been an easy thing for the director to capture or for Cassel to personify, but what is impressive about this modern-day Robin Hood is that no matter how bad he gets he is never quite an Al Capone or a John Dillinger. But it's not long before his inner Mr Hyde resurfaces – this time with catastrophic consequences.

Jacques arranges an interview with a policeman-turned-journalist, but it's a set-up, for Jacques confronts him about negative coverage he has given him. What ensues is a highly graphic display of violence. It proves to be one crime too far and prompts the minister of the interior to order police forces to hunt him down.

Jacques's vulnerability is exposed in a number of emotional scenes, especially one with his father. When questioned about why he does what he does, there is a heavily pregnant pause before a powerful soliloquy, 'I don't like laws… I won't dream my life away, and I won't pass every store thinking: that'll cost me 10 months' work'.

The brilliance of these two films is that both flagrantly show Jacques's demise in their opening scene. However, you either ignore this fact or convince yourself it is not real; testimony no doubt to the allure of the main character and the manner in which his story his conveyed.

'Death is nothing to someone who knows how to live.' This matter-of-fact proclamation from Jacques sums up his philosophy from the beginning. Forget politics, forget justice, forget morality. None of these were his motives. Crime was the motive and an addiction to crime was his punishment. Jacques Mesrine always knew that once dead he would be 'guilty of nothing'. And I for one agree.

www.scottishreview.net

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