Friday, August 27, 2010
Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 (Mesrine: L'ennemi public n°1)
Although "Mesrine: Public Enemy #1" (Mesrine: L'ennemi public n°1 | France/Canada/Italy 2008 | in French | 133 min.) is the second film of French director Jean-François Richet's epic crime drama about Jacques Mesrine, following "Mesrine: Killer Instinct," it is a wise decision to rename the film from its original title "Mesrine: Part 2 - Public Enemy #1," because it can certainly stands alone perfectly by itself. You do not have to watch "Mesrine: Killer Instinct" in order to grasp the dramatic happenings in "Mesrine: Public Enemy #1," however, it helps to understand Jacques Mesrine.
After Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassel) reaches his "public enemy #1" status, he seems enjoy the fame and attention, and continues to carry out stunning episodes of bank robberies and prison escapes. He begins to characterize himself as a revolutionary and writes memoirs to advocate his anti-authority belief. Even being locked up in a maximum security prison, he is able to team up with another prisoner François Besse (Mathieu Amalric) and to remain at large. The finally cops realize that the only way to get rid of him is to kill him, brutally in 1979, as the opening scenes of both films.
"Mesrine: Public Enemy #1" is much more focused compared to "Mesrine: Killer Instinct," and a better crime drama. It is intense and captivating throughout. It is quite obvious that the film glorifies Mesrine's crime career and sympathizes his violent death. Once again, Vincent Cassel is brilliant playing this notorious yet legendary gangster.
Despite the fact that the film is still a long way to go to reach the same level as "The Godfather," it tells amazing stories about a maverick gangster that you have not heard much before this film.