Mesrine: Part 1 (Killer Instinct) and Part 2 (Public Enemy #1) (2010)
Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 27
Fresh: 26 | Rotten: 1
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Critic Reviews: 2
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 0
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Everything about the second half is snappier, especially the acting...
Cassel injects a jolt of wild energy and ambiguity into what could easily have been another flatulent, apologist gangster epic.
Together, these two films represent a thinking-man's gangster movie. They contain the self-reflection and real-life grit, but without ponderous self-indulgence.
A restless character study in which an otherwise unremarkable individual, tossed by the tides of fate, emerges unexpectedly as remarkable, but in all the wrong ways
a fascinating true-life story that suffers only from trying too hard to be completely true to life.
Mesrine is a lean, flashy, fast-moving, somewhat repetitive film, very French in some ways, yet lacking the gravitas of the crime movies starring Jean Gabin or directed by Jean-Pierre Melville.
Richet's punchy style doesn't add anything new to the conventional, Scorsese-inspired way of presenting gangster movies, but it's well done, giving the film a constant supply of energy.
A film that doesn't necessarily glamorise its subject, though it does seems worryingly enamoured by his achievements. This is ultimately closer to a slice of over-board entertainment than an insight into a despicable, if extraordinary man.
Muscular, forthright storytelling, hard-smoking, hard-drinking action, horribly incorrect attitudes, brutality with a top-note of self-loathing, bushy moustaches and a cracking lead performance.
Killer Instinct and Public Enemy can't escape the shadow of the films they might have been. Both earn their place in the gangster canon. But not even Jacques Mesrine can escape the constraints of cinema.
A shotgun blast of a crime thriller; a dizzying, violent, and terrifying thrill ride.
Though it touches on some wider issues, Mesrine really just wants to be a classy, exciting genre movie. In this it succeeds perfectly.
Cassel's Jacques Mesrine is pieced together from gritty shards of believability, a street-real mosaic no one tries to smooth and polish. For that reason he and it have the sharp edges and septic menace of life.
There's an inevitable air of unfinished business hanging over this first instalment, though it moves at a tidy lick and conjures an atmosphere rank with Gauloises and greed.
Cassel surely deserves Oscar and Bafta consideration for a level of acting that dominates every frame of an exceptional thriller that easily surpasses any recent American efforts in this genre.
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