Sunday, July 19, 2009

Jacques Mesrine/Vincent Cassel

This weekend was dedicated to watching "Death Instinct" and "Public Enemy number 1" (both by Jean-François Richet, 2008), a two-part movie based on the life of French gangster Jacques Mesrine. Above are Jacques Mesrine himself (left) and Vincent Cassel as Jacques Mesrine (right).

I'm always a little agitated before embarking on a movie longer than 120 minutes, and in this case it was two movies longer than 120 minutes, but there wasn't a dull moment. I won't get into details and spoilers, I'll just say it's a breathtaking story, as thrilling and violent as gangster movies get, and excitingly and unbelievably based on a true story.

Mesrine's character is a combination of a cold-hearted gangster, a charming Clyde Barrow (with more than one Bonnie on his side), and a self-acclaimed and self-marketed megalomaniac revolutionary. Some of his actions are inspiring, others are horrifying, but always fearless. What I especially loved about him, and about Vincent Cassel's performance, are the humorous ego-tripping moments in which he indulges in his portrayal by the media (he was titled 'Public Enemy number 1'). I will definitely use it as inspiration for the main character in my screenplay (who's not a criminal in any way, but is an aspiring revolutionary).
Here's Jacques Mesrine in a series of photos taken by Alain Bizos in 1979, a few month before Mesrine's death. See the rest of the photos here.

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