At the Cinema | Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1

Killer Instinct - Vincent Cassel plays notorious French criminal Jacques Mesrine, here in mid heist with accomplice Michel Ardouin (Samuel Le Bihan)

Picking up the story of iconic French gangster Jacques Mesrine five years on from Mesrine: Killer Instinct (released in UK cinemas three weeks ago), Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1, the second half of director Jean-François Richet’s epic two-part crime biopic, finds Vincent Cassel’s crook revelling in his public notoriety. He’s paunchier than when we last saw him (Cassel put on 40lbs for the film), but no less adept at wriggling free of the law’s clutches and even slicker at getting on the front pages of newspapers and magazines. He escapes from court by kidnapping the judge at his own trial and cheekily welcomes a police commissioner with cigars and champagne when the cop lays siege to his flat to arrest him. It can’t last, of course, as we’ve known from the opening moments of the first film, which showed Mesrine’s bloody end in 1979 at the hands of a police hit squad, the event to which all the high jinks and high living in part two inevitably leads.

Released 28th August.


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