L’ennemi public n°1 (Mesrine: Part 2 – Public Enemy #1) (2008)

L’ennemi public n°1 (Mesrine: Part 2 – Public Enemy #1) is part two (of two) of a biopic about Jacques Mesrine, directed by Jean-François Richet and starring Vincent Cassel, Ludivine Sagnier and Mathieu Amalric. [Review of the first movie here.]

L’ennemi public n°1 starts with Mesrine’s (Vincent Cassel) death, then goes back for a while and unroll things until he dies (again). This time round, we see trials and prisone time for Mesrine, but also break-outs and political activism. There’s a little bit of Catch Me If You Can going on with police officer Broussard (Olivier Gourmet), and other stuff.
[If this plot summary sounds a little flighty, it is… but more on that later.]

The first part was good, though it had some problems. The second part was problem, though it had some goods. The cast is still strong, but the plot was all over the place, the pacing was off and I was more bored than anything else. Maybe that’s because they were trying to go for a light-hearted movie [at least compared to part one] with a really heavy-hearted topic. Just didn’t work.


Where I was full of compliments for writer Abdel Raouf Dafri for the first part, unfortunately I have to withdraw all of that for part two. There didn’t seem to be a stringent narrative in this movie, more like cool but only losely connected scenes glued together.

That’s also why my plot description sucks that much – there really isn’t much plot to describe. And what little there is, I have forgotten. [And that shouldn’t have happened yet. I mean, I had no problem remembering Enfin veuve and I saw those movies in the same week.]

I remember scenes – like the one where they torture the fascist journalist or the interview Mesrine gives, but for the life of me, I couldn’t piece together a story…


I quite liked the Mesrine-Broussard dynamic, but we didn’t get to see much of it. And in the end, I still don’t know – was it Broussard who ordered Mesrine’s death? [If it wasn’t for wikipedia, I’d still be doubting that it was the police who did this, btw., judging from the movie alone.]

Now they’ve shown his death three times in those two movies and they couldn’t make a clear point about who was responsible for it? I mean, what the hell?

And as I said before, the pacing was off. There was never any tension, not really.


The cast was good, though none of the actors got enough time to actually develop their characters – except for Vincent Cassel of course. It was a pretty big waste of a fine secondary cast.

Especially Sylvie (Ludivine Sagnier) just kind of shows up and then she’s there and after that she’s like a piece of furniture, shown when needed but not really integral to anything. Which was pretty disappointing after the strong (female) characters of the first movie.


Well, summarising: watch the first one, but skip this part. Unless you’re a really huge fan of Vincent Cassel. Because everything else falls short in this movie.

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