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4.2 out of 5 stars27
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 27 April 2013
the film could have been very enjoyable if only the producers of the video had decided to put a proper sub-titles,not just a few phrases here and there.This really spoilt the viewing DONT BUY unless you understand FRENCH.and can follow the dialogue in its original language
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on 25 August 2014
This is a superb film. Based on real people and events and is brilliantly put together with a great cast and director, an entertaining narrative, great cinematography and soundtrack I would give all aspects of Gang Story a very positive mention.

Gérard Lanvin gives a brilliant performanc as Edmond Vidal aka Momon and indeed the whole cast give superb performances. Once again this is a French film where everything seems just about perfect – the acting, music, cinematography, direction…

I would recommend that anyone who watches this DVD might also like to watch the Making Of feature which, as well as being entertaining gives an explanation of the fictional part of the story.

Anyone who has enjoyed Mesrine would most probably also enjoy Gang Story. Gérard Lanvin (the lead role in Gang Story) has a supporting role in Mesrine.


The Making Of feature, which is just over fifty minutes long, starts with the voice of Edmond Vidal known as Momon talking about meeting the ex flic, ex cop turned film director, Olivier Marchal and then what follows is a fasinating feature that I would say is well worth looking at.
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After making his reputation with tales of dysfunctional cops like 36 Quai des Orfevres, MR 73 and the TV series Braquo, French cop-turned-director Olivier Marchal takes a look at the other side with Les Lyonnais aka Gang Story, which sees Gerard Lanvin's successful ageing crook torn between flashbacks of his youth and springing childhood friend Tcheky Karyo from jail. Naturally things go horribly wrong, blood is spilled, the innocent suffer and long buried secrets and betrayals are uncovered.

Based loosely on the real Gang des Lyonnais and the memoirs of its leader Edmond Vidal, it's not as bleak or as emotionally gruelling as his much more ambitious MR 73 [DVD]. There's a somewhat melancholy print the legend aspect to it and the structure and certain plot aspects probably owe more of a debt to Sergio Leone's Once upon a Time in America than to the truth - something emphasised by the very much alive appearance in the making of documentary of one real-life gang member who is killed in the film. It's a less iconic or ambiguous film and it gets off to a somewhat awkward start as it moves between the protagonists' past (where Lanvin and Karyo's characters are ably played by Dimitri Storoge and Olivier Chantreau) and present as the cops and drug runners alike step up the pressure. It's at its best in the energetic flashback scenes as we trace Lanvin's 70s rise from learning his craft with a gang of De Gaullist thugs who commit armed robbery to fund their fight against the left and promptly try to kill him, his wife and child when he asks for his cut to forming a hugely successful gang of his own. The more sedate, considered modern-day section takes rather longer to grab hold, with much silent introspection before the stakes are raised enough to gradually become compelling in their own right. The end result isn't a classic, but it's a satisfying polar that's worth a look despite the familiarity of the material.

The 52-minute documentary on Entertainment One's UK PAL DVD is more interesting than most, dealing with the relationship between the ex-robber and ex-cop turned filmmaker as much as the making of the film, though it's the only extra, though the English subtitled 2.35:1 widescreen transfer is fine.
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on 29 June 2014
Excellent Movie.
Sub titles are pretty close to the original french dialogue (IMHO).
Gripping plot.
Only the fench make these films so well adn so blievable.
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on 28 April 2016
They should ban Americans from ever being allowed to subtitle films - their colloquialisms are appalling. I understand a little French and found myself distracted by often thinking 'that doesn't mean that' or 'that's not what he/she said' and the American English language idiom does not issue comfortably nor convincingly from the French mouth. That said, I'm not quite sure what to make of a film that has living real-life criminals as so-called anti-heroes - they remain criminals nonetheless and I could not work up any sympathy for their plight. How much pleasanter many people's lives would have been - and at least six policeman would be alive - if our two 'heroes' had been shot to death whilst stealing the cherries at the beginning of their careers; are we supposed to feel sorry for them because they were imprisoned as a result of this petty crime? I don't believe it; most gypsy criminals have a record as long as their arm by the time they are 18/19 so the prison term would have been as a result of recidivism - I'd put money on it. The film end titles inform us the surviving gangster is 66 and enjoying family life; what a pity the murdered policeman didn't get that opportunity.
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on 22 March 2015
Momon is a French gypsy who grows up to be a very successful armed robber. His band of brothers meet by working for a gangster and eventually branch out on their own, conducting heists throughout the early 70s.. Inevitably they are caught, but the strict code they have between them ensures that none of them will inform on any of the others. Or does it..?

Years later and Momon feels he must help his oldest friend who has been on the lam for years, and has only just been re~imprisoned, but with the law hot on the old gang's heels, and other gangsters wanting what's owed to them by Momon's old pal, things are becoming increasingly dangerous.
However these could be nothing compared to the ghosts of the past and the revelations they unleash...

This was a very good true crime story indeed. It features plenty of action as it dips between the past and the present, and further involves the viewer with themes of fraternity, love, honour and ultimately, betrayal. The acting and action are of a high standard, and it was nice to see Estelle Skornik ('Nicole' from the old Renault adverts!!) turn up in a fairly small but integral role. Still just as pretty ~ and as always, oozing total Frenchness!
It reminded me a little of the rather epic 'Romanzo Criminale', except much more succinct.

The UK dvd only has one extra to boast, but it is a rather interesting making of.. Which features some of the real life individuals the film is based on. The print is no less than what you would expect from a new film.
Director Marchal (an ex~policeman apparently), did a decent job with this. I shall keep an eye out for his future projects.
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Whilst the comparisons to Mesrine are understandable (it's based on a true story of the French underworld of the 1970s), they are two very different films. Set in modern day France with extended flashbacks, this is a film about loyalty, betrayal and revenge between former gang members. The acting is first class and overall it's a very stylish production with more of an emphasis on drama than thrills but with enough action sequences to satisfy. It's not perfect - it occasionally suffers from a lack of suspense and tension - but nonetheless it's an enjoyable film and I definitely recommend it.
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on 28 June 2014
Excellent film, well cast, suspense kept going to the end without the usual blockbuster high level shootouts - subtle, French, excellent !
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on 24 April 2014
If only British true crime movies were this stylish, realistic and well made....I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and found it easy to follow. It has been well scripted and is full of believable action scene's, I was left wanting more!......a truely great crime movies, move over Goodfellas.
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on 16 December 2013
This is a good film & story with plenty of action , they say its a true story but it is in french so of course if you don't like subtitles then maybe this is not for you but you will miss out because it is well worth a watch
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