March 2, 2013

Mesrine: Part 1 - Killer Instinct

Jean-Francois Richet, 2008


If Scarface and A Prophet had a baby, it would be Mesrine. The comparison may be a bit misleading, because this film is on a different level than Scarface. It's one of the best gangster films I've ever seen. Its the biopic of Jacques Mesrine, a real-life notorious French gangster. The setting is in the late fifties through the late sixties. Vincent Cassel plays Jacques Mesrine, and its the best performance I've seen from him. All of the acting in this film is spot on. There a noticeable Scorcesian sense of grittiness. Cinematography is perfect. Not one bad shot in the film, and the scenery in France, Spain and Canada only added to the overall beauty. I really enjoyed the opening of the film with the split-screen multi-angle shots. Because the film's timeline spans across a decade, there are some sudden jumps but it always remains fluid. It doesn't dumb itself down for the audience, one of my favorite qualities of foreign films. Jacques Mesrine is a fascinating character. There is a warm-hearted innocence to him early on in the film but that quickly washes away and gives way to a dark, depraved core. He doesn't mind blood on his hands, and develops a distorted set of principles. He is abusive, doesn't respect women, and is over-compensating for his fathers pacifistic dynamic he had with his mother. I won't detail any of the film because I do not want to give away any plot points at all. I can't wait to jump into part two. Had no idea it was a two part series until the final credits started rolling.

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