Featuring a career defining performance from Vincent Cassel, the two part saga follows the incredible series of hold-ups, prison breaks and kidnappings throughout the 70's and 80's across several continents.
Part 1: Killing Instincts Mesrine: Killer Instinct introduces us to Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassel), a loyal son and dedicated soldier back home and living with his parents after serving in the Algeria! War. Handsome and charming, he is soon seduced by the neon glamour of sixties Paris and easy money if presents. Mentored by Guido (Gerard Depardieu) Mesrine soon moves swiftly up the criminal ladder, choosing the high risk life of a gangster over the honest life of th hard working family. After pulling off an audacious heist he and his lover Jeanne (Ceciie France), flee to Canada where the opportunity of one big payout lures him out of hiding and propels him towards international notoriety.
Part 2: Public Enemy Number One The incredible and brutal story of Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassel) continues in Mesrine: Public Enemy Number 1. Now back in France, Mesrine is finally in police custody and facing justice for his crimes but he is soon on the run once again. After escaping a courtroom and kidnapping the judge at gunpoint, Mesrine is declared Public Enemy Number One and is eventually condemned to a maximum security prison where he writes his first memoirs, establishing himself as a household name and anti-hero across France. Mesrine stages another daring escape and disappears into the lawless underworld, taunting the police and reinventing himself as a celebrity criminal through his savvy manipulation of the media. After such a monumental rise, comes the inevitable fall as the detectives close in, bringing the life of Jacques Mesrine to a full bloody circle.
- Mesrine: Killer instinct / Public Enemy Number 1 review by Jawbreaker
This being the first of the Mesrine films sets out the origins of the charismatic French criminal as we follow his transition from ex-army to street thug. While he tries to endure the life of a married family man it is clear he cannot tear himself away from the criminal lifestyle before heading to Canada. Even with Richet’s wise decision to split his story in half too much emphasis is given to his infamous capers including murders, robberies and jailbreaks. The origins of the man and his time serving his country in Algeria are almost overlooked. It is a fundamental error from the director and his team as what could have been a fascinating insight soon dissolves into a four hour (including part two) criminal romp that does not provide the answers we seek.
1 out of 3 members found this review helpful.
More a film for my dad
- Mesrine: Killer instinct / Public Enemy Number 1 review by JL
This film is a bit mafia styled. My dad would like the violent bits. I was more drawn to the 60s/70s nostalgia and Mesrine and his relationships with friends & relatives, which are a bit raw too. Worth a look but didn't grab me.
0 out of 1 members found this review helpful.
- Mesrine: Killer instinct / Public Enemy Number 1 review by JD
This biography of an extremely violent man is not easy viewing. The relentless, pitiless violence is not done in a way that endears the character. He is socio-pathic and you can only pity anyone he knows. Hardly the basis for a good film which is uncomfortable throughout. I did not enjoy it and feel worse for having done so.