Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1

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Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1

Run time 134 minutes
Not for children

Vincent Cassell stars in “Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1.”

This picks up the saga of the charming but brutal Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassell) in 1973 after his return to France. His life from 1959-1973 is covered in Mesrine: Killer Instinct (Part 1), released a few weeks ago. This one shows his daring escapes, one from a courtroom, his hooking up with Mathieu Amalric (François Besse), known as the “king of escape,” to escape from La Santé prison.

We find him with a new girlfriend, Italian Sylvia Jeanjacquot (the luscious Ludivine Sagnier), but he’s still the same sociopathic personality, willing to kill in cold blood.

Here, however, he courts the press and becomes kind of a folk hero to the French, until he kidnaps, tortures, and leaves for dead the French journalist Jacques Dallier (Alain Fromager), who wrote an article about him that Jacques didn’t like. When pictures of the naked, tortured, shot Dallier were published, the public turned against him.

This is actually a better-paced film than part 1, also directed by Jean-François Richet, even though it’s 21 minutes longer. Still, Mesrine comes across as a much deeper character in this, especially with his Machiavellian way of controlling the press.

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