‘In the world of gangsters heroes don’t exist.’
Here is a crime epic which once again proves why French cinema is Master of crime wave. Here is a film that finally brought back the experience of those brilliant and powerful gangster films of
seventies. The unpredictable violence, tension, characters and treatment instantly
reminds you of Coppola, Scorsese and Penn.
In fact one can see the influence of ‘Godfather’, ‘Goodfellas’, ‘Scarface’ or
‘Bonnie and Clyde’ in many of its parts. It
moves with an electrifying pace and style and hooked you to the exciting thrill
and action without any dull moment. The
film is biopic on notorious and the most wanted French criminal of 60s and 70s
named Jacques Mesrine. However the film is not out and out record of his crime
story as some of the events in the film are based on fiction and Director Jean Francois
Richet clearly stated a convincing reason for this liberty in the beginning of
the film- ‘It’s not possible to completely show complexity of a man’s life,
which everybody perceives differently.’
There’s no gangster film which finish without leaving the impact of its main lead or character. Undoubtedly the man to watch here is Vincent Cassel and he is as awesome in form and performance as once De Niro was in company of Scorsese. One can see many mannerism and method act of De Niro in Cassale’s performance especially his expressions.
Cassel put on lot of weight and did number of hairstyles
and get ups to portray the criminal with many faces and also done a lot of
research to make the character a perfect finish; one can see the result of it
on screen. The film brought back that shocking violence on screen and story of the
criminal divided between the world of family, the world of multiple fair sex
partners and the world of crime.
The film is epic with duration of three hours and forty minutes and so divided in two parts. However both of them were shot together and were released the same year after a month’s break. The first part ‘Killer Instinct’ deals with the rise and making of Mesrine as the most wanted man bank robbery man of French and Canada police and it depicts the significant chronological events of his criminal life and affairs of sixties. The highlight of the first part is prison escape and violence aftermath. The second part ‘Public Enemy No.1’ shows his period of seventies where he committed some of his boldest crime including that court room escape entitling him the Public Enemy No.1. It follows the multiple prison escapes, robberies and violence and Mesrine’s playing too much with the system that finally turned out as nemesis. It also portrays the strong surveillance, trailing and planning of French police to finish him with whatever means. The second part quite falters compared to the first compact one.