According to the movie, Jacques Mesrine was a violent, vicious thug. But he was also a natural man, who went without hesitation or scruples for what he wanted, who let no man and no law and no convention stand in his way, and who was quick to land on his feet.
In one scene, he and a buddy get caught burglarizing a house. The unlucky victims, a couple, come walking in. Mesrine quickly impersonates a cop. "We have come from the police department to tell you that your home has been burglarized."
In a way, it is hilarious and even admirable. But of course Mesrine deserves to get locked up, which happens.
The odd thing about the movie (or at least the first half) is that it has no conventional dramatic structure. No through-line, no central dramatic question. The only question in the back of your mind is, What in hell is he going to do next?
Being constrained by the bio-pic form, the story is necessarily episodic. But it is fascinating. I can't wait to see Part 2. Do I want to be him? No. I am glad I am not Jacques Mesrine, but he is fun to watch. He goes to jail, but I don't.
© Copyright 2011, Roger R. Angle