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Mesrine - Public Enemy Number 1


Stars: Vincent Cassel, Ludivine Sagnier, Mathieu Amalric, Samuel Le Bihan, Gerard Lanvin, Georges Wilson, Olivier Gourmet, Myriam Boyer, Michel Duchaussoy

Director: Jean-Fran├žois Richet

The sequel to Killer Instinct finds hardened criminal Jacques Mesrine (Cassel) still robbing banks, shooting it out with police, and escaping from jail, in what prove to be his final years.

The first half of the film is exciting, pulse-pounding stuff. But, after Mesrine's fourth escape from prison and his marriage to Sylvie (Sagnier), the pace slows down and the story is spun out a bit too much towards the end - which we have glimpsed at the start of the previous film.

Mesrine's political and social ambitions fly largely over our heads and, while Cassel again totally dominates the film with a marvellously relaxed and naturalistic performance, he becomes a less sympathetic character towards the end.

Earlier, he finds time to don one of his many disguises to see his dying father (Duchaussoy) in hospital. When the old man expresses shock at his arrival, the charismatic Mesrine tells him: 'The banks were closed so I figured I'd visit my father.'

David Quinlan

France 2008. UK Distributor: Momentum. Duboicolor/Technicolor.
129 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 22 Aug 2009