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Mesrine

Old 02-16-09, 02:24 PM
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Mesrine





I received a short note that Studio Canal will be releasing Jean-François Richet's two-part crime-drama Mesrine (2008) on Blu-ray and DVD. Dates will be spread between June and July
(June 17 and July 1). Starring Vincent Cassel (Brotherhood of the Wolf), Cecile de France (The Spanish Apartment), Gerard Depardieu, Elena Anaya, etc.

Official site:
http://www.mesrine-lefilm.com/

Screen International:
Public Enemy Number One: Part 1
(Mesrine: L'Instinct De Mort)

Dir: Jean-Francois Richet. 2008. Fr-Can-It. 113mins.

The first installment of the two-part biopic devoted to Jacques Mesrine (1936–1979) is a whirlwind introduction to the charismatic career criminal who became a household name in France. Despite an abrupt narrative approach, formative episodes in Mesrine's larger-than-life reign flow together well enough to yield a frequently gripping whole. Vincent Cassel's performance, which entailed gaining and losing over 40 pounds to resemble Mesrine over the span of two decades, is excellent in the service of a tale marbled with action, violence and brass balls chutzpah.

Hitting French screens Oct 22, Part 1 is a free-standing entertainment that whets the appetite for Part 2 (Nov 19). While Gallic and Canadian audiences should show strong interest (Mesrine was Public Enemy Number One in Quebec before earning that status back in his native France), widely sold saga may present a marketing challenge in other territories. But there's always room for good accounts of bad men - Al Capone didn't have a publicist but his name resonates the world over.

During tense opening credits a man and woman load items into the boot of a car and head off into Paris traffic circa 1979. Moments after driver Mesrine (Cassel) remarks to his passenger that he was born not far from that very spot, the couple are fatally ambushed by police. The split second border between ordinary activities and explosive violence characterizes the entire film to come.

The action cuts straight to Algeria in 1959 where young Mesrine, a soldier in the French army, takes part in a brutal interrogation. Discharged and back in the Paris suburb of Clichy, he doesn't stay long in his parents' comfortable bourgeois home. His dad has a job lined up for Jacques in a lace factory, a prospect the viewer knows is risible even if his ineffectual father doesn't.

With childhood buddy Paul (Lellouche) who works for crime boss Guido (Depardieu), Jacques meets Pigalle prostitute Sarah (Thomassin) whose honour he later recklessly defends. Initiated by Paul in the ways of burglary and robbery, Jacques' knack for quick thinking is swiftly revealed.

Jacques falls for Spanish beauty Sofia (Anaya) in 1960. After doing time in a French prison, he lives with her and their three children but when legit work dries up, Mesrine again takes up arms for Guido and never looks back.

An already lively, if episodic, narrative really picks up in Paris in 1966 when Jacques meets Jeanne (De France), who's as violent and fearless as he is. Two years later, with police and rivals literally gunning for him, Jacques escapes to Montreal with Jeanne. An escapade with their wealthy employer lands the couple in prison. After surviving the spectacular indignities of solitary confinement in a Canadian penitentiary – a harrowing primer on why crime does not pay and rehabilitation doesn't work -- Mesrine ingeniously busts out with buddy Mercier (Dupuis).

While Mesrine's exploits make for good theater, the film-makers don't judge their subject or attempt to spell out his motivations. Mesrine is never glorified. He may be despicable, but he's a man of his word, right down to returning to a prison from which he's escaped to spring others.

In limited screen time, De France radiates love and passion. Filmed in close-up during a covert phonecall, she nails the heartbreaking complexity of being emotionally committed to a homicidal hothead.

Boldly employing mosaic screen effects, the film is stylish but not ostentatiously so.

Public Enemy Number One: Part 2
(Mesrine: L'Ennemi Public N° 1)

Dir: Jean-Francois Richet. 2008. Fr-Can-It. 132mins.

Public Enemy Number One: Part 2 is a relentless portrait of Mesrine in his Scarface-like prime as he tips over into half-baked political motivations and continues his tightrope act between living life to the full and catapulting toward his inexorable fate. Bloody shoot-outs, daring escapes - from a courtroom in mid-trial, from prison, from an impressive manhunt - and grandstanding for the press illustrate Mesrine's assurance and arrogance with expedient strokes.

There have been too many fact-inspired movies about rebellious bank robbers (The Bank Job, Le Dernier Gang to name but two) for this material to feel entirely new, but Jean-François Richet has made two pictures that complement and build on each other with widescreen verve.

Anyone still wondering why they should care about this guy after Part 1 will get a rousing reply in the highlights of Mesrine's final six years of sangfroid and bravado. Even when cornered or captured, as he is by police nemesis Broussard (Gourmet) long before he gets his man for good, Mesrine takes his temporary defeat in stride. In custody in March of 1973, Mesrine strenuously denies knowing gangster Michel Ardouin (Le Bihan). They know each other alright, as a breathless escape and shooting spree energetically demonstrate.

In a long sequence shot and edited for maximum suspense, Mesrine later breaks out of prison with fellow convict François Besse (Amalric). Besse prefered to keep a low profile. Mesrine, conversely, was something of a pioneer in media manipulation, admitting to over 40 murders is an autobiography he published from prison before going on trial. Throughout Part 2 Mesrine willingly feeds his own legend.

Mesrine rarely resorted to disguise in the period covered in Part 1, robbing banks unmasked. In Part 2, now dubbed 'the man of a thousand faces,' he repeatedly walks into the lion's den – posing as a doctor to visit his dying father or disguised as a police inspector to make a few pointed inquiries at the Deauville police station before knocking off the local casino.

Because criminals commit crimes, there's a certain degree of repetition here. Bored with his own prowess and ever the provocateur, Mesrine takes superficial inspiration from the Red Brigades, the Palestinian struggle and the Baader Meinhof gang to beef up his rhetoric. There's an unfortunate whiff of Pretty Woman in the sequences where Mesrine and new girlfriend Sylvia (Sagnier) buy a BMW off the showroom floor and pay cash for costly baubles in Paris's Place Vendome. The nominally fun side of being public enemy number one does, however, underline the extraordinary fact that Mesrine was able to hide in plain sight for so long.

Part 2 ends as Part 1 began, with Mesrine shot down in very cold blood without a hint of legal preliminaries.

As played by Amalric, Besse's compact intensity makes him an unlikely but interesting partner-in-crime for the flamboyant Mesrine. Gerard Lanvin as extreme left-wing activist Charlie Bauer exudes all-or-nothing conviction on a wavelength that seems almost quaint three decades later. Sagnier is fun-loving, game and vulnerable.

After four hours in his presence it's difficult to imagine anyone but Cassel as the many faces of Mesrine.


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Old 08-25-09, 06:51 AM
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Re: Mesrine

Finally managed to watch the first part of this movie and it is pretty good I have to say. Covering the life of such criminal over such a long span is a real challenge.

I found the movie unnecessary gore at some points and I am not too sure it can be interesting to people not familiar with the character. It looks like a Hollywood production but it is still in essence a very French movie about an anarchist. There are similarities with the Australian movie "Chopper" (with Eric Bana).

I am not particularly fan of Cassel and Depardieu but they both deliver a very good performance. Cassel is excellent.

Taking into account the cultural differences this movie is for France the equivalent of Scarface. France likes to glorify an anarchist, the US like to glorify pure greed.

In any case the Mesrine movie is much better than another French movie released at the same period called "Sans arme, ni haine, ni violence". This other movie was about Spaggiari a man who in the 70's managed to perform one of the biggest heist in history and finished his life poor in South America.

Last edited by O=&=O; 08-25-09 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 08-25-09, 11:23 AM
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Re: Mesrine

Any English subtitled DVDs of this movie in the works?
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Old 08-25-09, 12:04 PM
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A UK DVD (and Blu-ray) is coming the end of this year from Momentum. They are up for pre-order at Amazon UK.

On a related - French crime movie - note, the remake of LE DEUXIEME SOUFFLE is landing on UK DVD from Optimum in mid-September. You can find it for pre-order (lousy price as of now) under the title SECOND WIND (2007) at Amazon UK. I'm not expecting much from the remake, but it does have Monica Bellucci...and I expect that is good enough for more than a few of us.
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Old 08-26-09, 03:03 AM
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Re: Mesrine

Originally Posted by flixtime View Post
it does have Monica Bellucci...and I expect that is good enough for more than a few of us.
Ludivine Sagnier in Mesrine is also a good excuse to watch the Mesrine movie !

Another point I forgot to mention about the Mesrine movie is the recreation of the Paris in the 60's and 70's. It is absolutely incredible what the director managed to do. In "Munich" I was already impressed by the accuracy of the recreation of the period but they had only a handful of too shiny cars that you retrieved in every countries the movie was taking you too.

In Mesrine the director got hundred of cars accurate to the period to fill the streets of busy central Paris but also had the possibility to trash them. Heartbreaking for any car enthousiast...
Hats off to the prop department ! You can only notice once a modern car at the end of the movie in reflexion of a shop window (a 2000 Ford Ka).

Last edited by O=&=O; 08-26-09 at 03:05 AM.
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Old 02-04-10, 01:25 PM
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Re: Mesrine

Blu-Ray.com Review

http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Mesrin...y-Review/6625/
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Old 02-04-10, 01:40 PM
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Re: Mesrine

What happened to Pro-B...?
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Old 02-04-10, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Dane View Post
What happened to Pro-B...?
He's doing his usual thing (reviews and forum discussion), but now he's doing it over at blu-ray.com. That place seems to be the new "in" place to be...at least going by the forum membership numbers (95,000 at blu-ray.com vs. 79,000 here).
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Old 02-04-10, 03:25 PM
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Re: Mesrine

Pro-B leaving DVDtalk is the equivalent of Conan O'Brian leaving NBC. He's a DVDtalk Hall of Famer.
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Old 02-04-10, 07:28 PM
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Re: Mesrine

yes, it is a shame - I miss his recommendations.
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Old 02-05-10, 08:19 AM
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Re: Mesrine

I got the UK Blu-ray yesterday and watched the first part last night. I really enjoyed it, great movie, excellent performance by Cassel. Looking forward to part 2 tonight.

Not a big fan of the Digipak it came in. I prefer a plastic case but at least it made it undamaged across the ocean!
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Old 02-05-10, 08:41 AM
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Re: Mesrine

Let us know what you think of the second part. I'm pondering if it's worth the price right now. I know if we wait a couple of months or so it'll drop, but I really want to see this one. Shame about the packaging though. But any movie that makes it overseas intact without a floater disc is a good thing.
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Old 02-05-10, 09:16 AM
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Re: Mesrine

Originally Posted by trespoochies View Post
Let us know what you think of the second part. I'm pondering if it's worth the price right now. I know if we wait a couple of months or so it'll drop, but I really want to see this one. Shame about the packaging though. But any movie that makes it overseas intact without a floater disc is a good thing.
That is true. I am having good luck with amazon.uk and their packages so far. I think I paid 15 pounds after they removed the vat. Which isn't bad. I also got Martyrs and Let The Right One In. I will post after watching part 2.
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Old 02-05-10, 09:34 AM
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Re: Mesrine

I got the UK PAL DVD yesterday and I watched the first part. Highly entertaining, not boring at all, but a bit episodic. Cecile de France is probably the most overrated annoying current French actress. I don't get her. Vincent Cassell is such a great actor! I'm looking forward to see Part 2 tonight (unless I got see From Paris With Love).
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Old 02-05-10, 12:00 PM
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Re: Mesrine

Any idea if this will get a US blu-ray release?

I would guess yes (far more obscure foreign movies have gotten good US blu-ray releases), but any idea when?
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Old 02-05-10, 03:53 PM
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Re: Mesrine

Originally Posted by slop101 View Post
Any idea if this will get a US blu-ray release?

I would guess yes (far more obscure foreign movies have gotten good US blu-ray releases), but any idea when?
Who knows, too many French movies don't make it across the pond. Maybe there will be a Canadian release in the future? It's a Canadian co-production.
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Old 02-07-10, 11:22 AM
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Re: Mesrine

I just watched the second part - great stuff! Vincent Cassell is the Robert DeNiro of France. It's amazing how he gained weight for the second part. Both movies aren't too deep, but it's totally entertaining from begininng to end. When Vincent Cassell is on the screen, you just cannot take your eyes off of him because he is such a great actor. Definitely the best French movie of last year!
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Old 02-07-10, 05:49 PM
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Re: Mesrine

Originally Posted by toddly6666 View Post
Pro-B leaving DVDtalk is the equivalent of Conan O'Brian leaving NBC. He's a DVDtalk Hall of Famer.
Bummer

Definitely going to pick up this disc after I get back from vacation.
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Old 02-07-10, 06:55 PM
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Re: Mesrine

Originally Posted by toddly6666 View Post
I just watched the second part - great stuff! Vincent Cassell is the Robert DeNiro of France. It's amazing how he gained weight for the second part. Both movies aren't too deep, but it's totally entertaining from begininng to end. When Vincent Cassell is on the screen, you just cannot take your eyes off of him because he is such a great actor. Definitely the best French movie of last year!
That's what I was hoping to hear. I definitely agree with you about Cassel. I just wish he'd be in more American movies. He definitely made Ocean's 12 worth watching when there wasn't much to see about that movie. I think I just might get Mesrine now.
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Old 02-07-10, 09:32 PM
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Re: Mesrine

Yeah, I agree with you and others that this is one great french film! I picked up the UK Pal edition about a week ago from Amazon.uk. That standard dvd has a good resolution and sound, so I'll probably not invest in a blu-ray. If this film wasn't done in 2-parts I'd assume that maybe an American distributor might have considered acquiring this. Ce la vie!

Originally Posted by toddly6666 View Post
I just watched the second part - great stuff! Vincent Cassell is the Robert DeNiro of France. It's amazing how he gained weight for the second part. Both movies aren't too deep, but it's totally entertaining from begininng to end. When Vincent Cassell is on the screen, you just cannot take your eyes off of him because he is such a great actor. Definitely the best French movie of last year!
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Old 02-09-10, 10:21 PM
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Watched MESRINE (PART 1)...like toddly mentioned, I thought it often episodic. I found it entertaining for the most part, and most chapters worked well in that respect. At the same time, I thought it ran a bit flat early in the second half. But it ended on a high note for sure. At this halfway point I'd rate it as "good", but not higher because it really hasn't left any lasting impression and I really don't feel much for the character...a respectable biopic but not something special. Maybe it needed some more lower-key/dialogue-driven passages to add some depth/meaning, instead of just succeeding on thrills. Still, I'm probably more satisfied with Part 1 of MESRINE versus Part 1 of CHE...and so far MESRINE is certainly better than PUBLIC ENEMIES.

And I am looking forward to Part 2 with some enthusiasm.
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Old 02-10-10, 10:22 PM
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Finished things up by watching MESRINE (PART 2)...pretty much more of the same as Part 1. Again the movie was entertaining and moved along at a brisk pace (this time without any brief lull as I found in Part 1). At the same time, I felt myself with a mixed feeling of impatience...because it was more of the same...heist followed by prison followed by escape followed by naked hot chicks. Now, as a fan of crime films, I certainly enjoyed all those aspects, but maybe this project really could have been trimmed down by an hour into one 160-minute film. As a biopic it was good but nothing more as I really didn't find the character of Mesrine all that interesting...as I experienced with CHE, I didn't really get much beyond a superficial look at the man. As a crime film, it - while entertaining - was not much beyond a couple of other recent French crime efforts such as TRUANDS (2007) aka CRIME INSIDERS aka PARIS LOCKDOWN, and another 70's-set crime film LES LIENS DU SANG (2008) aka RIVALS. Generally speaking, MESRINE is measurably better than either of those films, but maybe not significantly better or more significant in the long run. One particular aspect I didn't care for in the film is the jittery camerawork used for the action scenes...the scenes were suspenseful and exciting enough on their own, without needing to resort to jittery camerawork in an attempt to inject more energy. MESRINE just felt...a little less than the sum of its parts. Actually, I didn't really have any great expectations for MESRINE so it turned out rather on-par and I'm quite content with my purchase...a good film.

Next up for viewing in the category of French crime films: the remake of LE DEUXIEME SOUFFLE
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Old 02-11-10, 10:32 AM
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Re: Mesrine

looks good. I'll def pick up the uk dvd
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Old 02-15-10, 12:37 PM
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Re: Mesrine

Pro-B posted pictures of the packaging of the UK Blu-Ray. Kind of wish it was in a regular BD case.

http://forum.blu-ray.com/2852221-post85.html
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Old 02-21-10, 10:46 PM
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Re: Mesrine

Anyone know if the UK DVD release comes in the same packaging as the UK BD release?
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