One story, two films.

L’Instinct de Mort and L’Ennemi Public N°1 present us a cinematic view over the life of Jacques Mesrine, one of the most famous European criminals that became France’s Public Enemy Nº1 by the late 70’s.

The first part, my favorite of the two, starts by showing us the violent past behind the man and his rise in the criminal underworld…this film is probably the only of the two that can be put under the Hollywood gangster genre, going deeper into the character’s dilemmas and his struggle to grow a family and combine that with his crimes.

Violence overflows throughout both movies, and although some stuff may be exaggerated, I think the director Jean-François Richet subtly tried to justify the personality of Mesrine with some sort of Robin Hood complex and the fact that he tried to maintain a controversial code of honor.
That fact helps the audience to feel a connection with the character in the beginning, but the undeniable sociopath nature of Mesrine becomes clear in the second film, specially near the end.

In terms of directing and acting, this movie really exceeded all my expectations…I mean, any movie that Vincent Cassel does almost has a seal of quality just from his name on the cast, but this one is really a great mix of storytelling and entertainment. Even the end of it all, which we also see right away in the beginning of the first film, delivers a extraordinary sense of ruggedness, leaving you with a bitterness on the mouth, but a confirmation of how reality works in the criminal side of life.

Mesrine’s vision of reality was heavily distorted, life and death had nothing but a symbolic value for him, and we get to understand that in the movie, but what really shocked me was reading his wikipedia page and finding out that almost everything we see on both movies really happened, even the most insane stuff, and also his murder by the French police.

By the way, read another opinion on the movies (written ages ago lol), from my beloved girlfriend that watched them almost entirely with me.

L’Instinct de Mort
PART 2: L’Ennemi Public N°1

PART 1 (American version)
PART 2 (French version)


2 Responses to “Mesrine”

  1. 2 VOID 21 October, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    Grande dica, desconhecia a existência deste duplo filme e vibrei.
    Vincent Cassel e o cinema francês em grande

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