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Mesrine: Part 1 & 2 [DVD] [2008]

4.5 out of 5 stars 165 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Vincent Cassel, Cécile De France, Gérard Depardieu, Ludivine Sagnier, Mathieu Amalric
  • Directors: Jean-François Richet
  • Writers: Jean-François Richet, Abdel Raouf Dafri, Jacques Mesrine
  • Producers: André Rouleau, Daniel Delume, Emmanuel Montamat, Jean Cottin
  • Format: PAL, Subtitled
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Momentum Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Jan. 2010
  • Run Time: 237 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002ELEZBI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,294 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

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.

Synopsis

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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I read a little bit about Mesrine before going to see this movie so knew a little on the background of this in advance. The storyline, the direction, the production and above all, the acting (not just Cassel), is second to none. Vincent Cassel plays the part of Mesrine with an ability that is normally only credited to actors such as De Niro. Indeed, the way Cassel is able to say so much and in fact, change the entire mood of a scene, with just an expression is certainly reminiscent of Mr De Niro.
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.
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By O E J TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Mar. 2010
Format: Blu-ray
This is a review of the Blu-ray version (Parts 1 & 2), which together form a biopic of French armed robber Jacques Mesrine from 1959 to 1979.

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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This gripping French film, a biopic of the 'most wanted' French criminal Mesrine (pronounced May-Reen), is highly recommended if you like gangster movies (Bonnie and Clyde, for instance), have a strong stomach and yearn for something different to the usual Hollywood treatment of such stories. I don't know how true to the facts this is, so I can only judge it on entertainment value and by that measure it scores highly. The exhilarating story of Mesrine's criminal career from start to finish is spread over two full-length films and there are not many dull moments. But what really makes this riveting, even between the many action sequences, is the extraordinary performance of Vincent Cassell in the title role. Mesrine is appalling and terrifying, yet also charismatic and at times likeable and Cassell makes this outrageous character completely believable. This is acting of the first order. Any minuses? Well, if you expect to gain an understanding of how a boy from a respectable home grows up to be a violent criminal you might be disappointed. There are scenes that provide some reasons but these were the only bits of the whole film that I found less than totally convincing. Maybe the truth is that we don't really know and should give the makers credit for not just inventing things. Hate subtitles? I'd say go for it anyway, it's so good you'll soon forget about them. Final warning: this film pulls no punches; it contains scenes of sickening violence and I find it surprising that it was not given an 18 certificate.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is the first of the two part 'Mesrine' films based on the true-life story of one of France's more colourful bank robbers. It's filmed in true 1960s French style, grainy, split-screen and the detailing of the rise of the criminal, French style, contrasts with the rise, say, of Tony Montana in 'Scarface'. The French just have their own way of doing things, and Mesrine, although violent, uses bravado and cunning intelligence as well as a winning smile to get what he wants.

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.
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