Mesrine: Killer Instinct/Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One (2008) Director: Jean-François Richet

Mesrine Parts One and Two (Killer Instinct and Public Enemy Number One) are two classy crime flicks about the infamous French gangster Jacques Mesrine. The excellent Vincent Cassel plays him with absolute gusto - a womaniser, a brute, a con man, and someone who just doesn't give a damn about the consequences of his actions. He's absolutely rubbish at shoot outs though.
At a staggering 246 minutes between them, it's fair to call the Mesrine films epic and they're exciting, intelligent and fast-paced thrill rides. Mesrine is a cold-blooded murderer and doesn't believe in women's rights, but there's something about him which is likeable. You want him to keep going. Any Wiki search, or even the start of the first film, seals Mesrine's fate, but when the inevitable does happen you can't help feeling a little sad for him. And the poodle.
Both films stand up on their own merits, with Part Two really coming into its own with Mesrine at his 'best' and then his subsequent downfall. He pulls off more and more elaborate crimes which aren't well polished and always have the threat of going a bit tits up. His kidnap of a very old rich man is almost farcical when the pensioner doesn't play ball. Part Two also offers an insight into Mesrine's soul - even though he's shooting journalists in the head, we witness a tender moment between him and his estranged father, and his attempts to be a good father to his daughter who is rapidly growing up in front of his eyes. It's very touching, and bonds us more to this crime lord.
There is a lot of humour - Mesrine's disrespect of justice has him putting on a one-man comedy show in court, and his botched attempts at some crimes are amusing. He is vain and likes to see an accurate portrayal of himself in the media, getting angry when the press get his lines incorrect or whooping when he has a particularly provocative piece of coverage.
For anyone who loves a good crime/gangster film, you need to check out Mesrine. You won't be disappointed.
5/5 rubbish attempts at jail breaks