MESRINE: PUBLIC ENEMY #1 (pt 2, 2008)


 Greetings again from the darkness. This is part two of director Jean-Francois Richet‘s tale of famed criminal Jacques Mesrine. As in part one, Vincent Cassel delivers a frightening portrayal of this psychopath who is addicted to the spotlight, danger, women and little else.

This second film drives home the point that Mesrine was little more than an ultra-aggressive hoodlum. What I mean by that is that he was no criminal mastermind. No real strategist. He just steals when he needs money and then quickly helps the press fill in the blanks on his escapades. Watching him swell with pride as he is pronounced France’s Public Enemy Number One is just plain creepy.

Ludivine Sagnier (so great in Swimming Pool) plays Sophie, his last girlfriend. Watching her reaction to her dog being shot in the final shootout tells you all you need know about her and her relationship with Mesrine.

Much of this part is based on the police chases and the efforts put into “catching” Mesrine and his accomplice. His new partner in crime is played by the terrific Mathieu Amalric (Quantum of Solace, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly). Amalric has the steely eyed stare and the acting chops to hang with Cassell.

While I truly admire Cassell’s performance in these two films and I find both extremely well made, I still feel a bit empty about the subject matter. Mesrine was a brutally violent criminal who managed 3 daring prison escapes, numerous bank robberies, kidnappings and killings. However, there is just not much depth to the man. Maybe it’s true … some people just want to see the world burn. No matter what, these two films should be seen as close together as possible. This is ONE STORY cut into two pieces. Set aside 4 hours and see the entire thing.

For my comments on part 1, please click on this link:

https://moviereviewsfromthedark.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/mesrine-killer-instinct-pt-1/

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