Monday, September 06, 2010
Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 (Part Two)
The French crime epic "Mesrine" has been split into two separate films here in the U.S. but I'm not sure how it played in France. Having now seen the entire story, it could have been edited into one three hour film that probably would have worked even better. Part two, "Public Enemy" picks up moments after the start of the first film and like the first, dissolves into flashbacks to bring the story full circle.
Vincent Cassel continues an electrifying performance as the title character. As part two takes place in the '70's, we now find Mesrine older, heavier and a complete attention seeking egomaniac. Having made a daring escape from a courtroom (a terrific sequence), Mesrine's infamy continues to grow and he feeds off the fame with even more daring robberies and escapes.
Along for the ride this time is Mathieu Amalric as Mesrine's partner in crime, until even he is fed up with the antics of the publicity seeking criminal. Again, there is a daring prison break and also a great car chase through the streets of Paris. However, here is where part two begins to falter. While the first film moved at a kinetic pace, the second takes a different approach and slows down the story with much longer sequences. It begins to get repetitive and has more tedious moments in between the action. This is where more editing could have consolidated both films into one.
Having said that, it's still important to see both films and experience the full story. Mr. Cassel brings Mesrine to life and even through the slow spots is still mesmerizing to watch.