Robbing banks, rocking moustaches

Robbing banks, rocking moustaches

Edward Wang


Jacques Mesrine’s story is a perfect example of a biographical movie done right




It's very rare that a character can be more interesting than the bank he is robbing, but such is the case in "Mesrine: Killer Instinct" and "Mesrine: Public Enemy Number 1." You could call him the French John Dillinger or Clyde Barrow, but that wouldnít do him justice. Jacques Mesrine, equal parts smooth, cunning, and charming, is one of the most fascinating and unique characters to grace the big screen in recent years.


The story of Mesrine comes in two different movies. The two ticket prices are by no means robbery either. Part one lets the audience get to know Mesrine and how he gets the title of Franceís most famous criminal. Itís not as action packed as part two, but it is just as fun to watch. Part two shows him at the peak of his success and eventually his brutal downfall. Though initially only released in France, the films have been brought across the Atlantic, with good reason, for a limited release showing.

Jacques Mesrine flees from a crime, one of the only ones to go wrong in his prestigious career of  robberies, murder, and kidnapping. Vincent Cassel has recieved 5 prestigous awards for his role as Mesrine and even more nominations, including a César Award for Best Actor.

After you get past the excitement of part one and two, it really reminds the viewer how smart, quick, and intuitive you have to be to rob one bank, let alone dozens. Mesrine flaunts his quick instincts as he bypasses arrests through his clever, impulsive tricks. Instead of running away, he poses as a cop. Instead of high-tailing from a bank, he robs another one across the street.


"Mesrine: Killer Instinct," in spite of fun and romantic previews, deceptively presents a dark character drama. With unsettling scenes of torture and abuse, the movie will not please the light-hearted. Vincent Cassel plays the primary role of Jacques Mesrine very dynamically with his quick shifts from being lovably mischievous to horrifically cruel. The audience quickly learns that he is capable of more than simple bank heists doing everything from stealing cars to physically abusing his wife. While he may be a modern Robin Hood in the eyes of France, he is by no means merciful to his enemies. Many a rival has suffered a fate worse than death at the hands of Mesrine. With other supporting characters, Cassel does not shine alone. Naive lovers, fellow criminals, and revolutionaries have the quirks and charms to engross the audience just as equally.


At the end of the day, "Mesrine: Public Enemy Number 1" achieves what most sequels cannot match the quality of its original. It packs more gunfights and car chases from start to finish, leaving the viewer engaged. The two movies mind-blowingly tie together and show a hectic life without the fictional element. Life really is stranger than fiction with these hard-hitting movies. Nobody should miss them.