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Mesrine: Part 1 & 2 [DVD] 
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Both instalments of the acclaimed two-part biopic based on the autobiography of notorious French gangster Jacques Mesrine. Born in 1936, Mesrine (Vincent Cassell) transformed himself from a middle-class Algerian War veteran to a career criminal of international notoriety, before eventually earning the dubious honour of being named Public Enemy Number One by the French government. Gerard Depardieu, Mathieu Amalric, Ludivine Sagnier and Cecile De France co-star.
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 - 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 Algerian war. handsome and charming, he is soon seduced by the neon glamour of sixties Paris and the easy money it presents. mentored by Guido (Gèrard Depardieu) Mesrine soon moves swiftly up the criminal ladder, choosing the high risk life of a gangster over the honest life of the hard working family. after pulling off an audacious heist he and his lover Jeanne (Cecile de 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 1 the incredible and brutal story of Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassel) continues in Mesrine: Public Enemy no 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 Broussard closes in, bringing the life of jacques Mesrine to full bloody circle.
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Top Customer Reviews
Apparently when Mesrine was at his crooked peak in France, he became something of a pop-icon, anti-hero for the disenfranchised people of Paris. This is depicted beautifully in this movie because, despite his abhorrent crimes, there is something incredibly cool and likeable about him.
I have to take my proverbial hat off to the makers of this movie (and part 2) for making such a thrilling ride from start to finish. Like one of the other reviewers say, this sounds long at 2+ hours but each scene is action packed.
If you want a break from the usual boil-in-a-bag hollywood movies, do yourself a huge favour and buy this.
At 247 minutes for the combined parts, you might need to plan well in advance to watch this highly-rated biography of an egotistic but popular criminal of the 1960s and 1970s, but the time passes quickly - especially the first part. As a Blu-ray presentation it was a waste of extra money and the standard def version is all that's needed. As a story it would normally be regarded as absurd, particularly the multiple prison escapes, but the reality is that most if not all events covered actually did take place, this being a true story (or at least, it's based on true events). It could be likened to Bonnie & Clyde in many ways, as for the most part it shows bank robberies, escapes, and more bank robberies - with a police force eventually fronted by one man determined to bring the target down.
Vincent Kassel, as the leading man Mesrine, totally carries the film, and very convincingly so. He becomes something of a Robin Hood-like anti-hero, despite killing a lot of people during his robbing sprees, and when he eventually becomes France's Public Enemy Number One, he relishes his fame and wants to hang on to it. He is outrageously brazen, not only escaping from prison but then keeping a promise to return to that same penitentiary to help some of his former inmates escape too. In between heists he comes over as a genial, larger-than-life character who if he had led a crime-free life might have built up a huge social circle of friends and admirers, but having chosen the murderous life that he did, his life-style is inevitably one of loneliness due to relentless moving around to escape recapture - and he wasn't always successful at that.Read more ›
Vincent Cassell is superb: a true chameleon, he performs best in his native language (this is a French film with English subtitles). He can snap at any moment and his volatility drives the plot forward. Cecile de France was almost unrecognisable in a black wig and she plays her role in an ultra- realistic way.
The film is long but it never drags - not once - and is violent from start to finish. It is also very French, and if you are used to Hollywood cop-killer fodder then this will either be a breath of European fresh air or an education or both. There is no lingering between scenes, or even years. The director and editor have cut this movie very tightly.
Well worth a look.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wow ... Brilliant film in every way. A must see for people who love cinematography. Oscar worthy performances.Published 2 months ago by A Green
Gripping story this one. Easy to follow and with two discs you can break the whole story at just the right place.Published 3 months ago by Herne
A breathtakingly hard-edged French movie this, all the better for knowing that it’s factually based. Read morePublished 4 months ago by harpoon guns to 'safe', please