It all started with another gangster film of the year – Michael Mann’s Public Enemies. I guess I was dazzled by Johnny Depp’s mesmerising eyes and expressions I saw in the trailer. Plus, I still had this vivid memory about Godfather – somehow men in tailored suits, pin-striped double breast, always fascinated me.
No, it wasn’t Johnny Depp. It was Mesrine – Killer Instinct that blew my mind away.
The opening sequence was a blast. It detailed Mesrine’s final moments by employing multiple split screens, a technique dominated cinema’s silent days. The effect of such technique is stunning. It wasted no time getting viewers in the mood.
I wasn’t familiar with Mesrine’s audacious crimes and prison breaks. Gangster films are not my favourite either. I am however always interested in how such a grim and bloody subject can be presented on the screen and how actors/actresses brought the roles to life.
Vincent Kassel looks sinister and even ugly in my standard. His two eyes are way too far from each other, his nose is not straight, and his facial expressions can be quite disturbing. His charisma outshines everyone in this film. Even Gerard Depardieu’s acting appeared rather flimsy. Then, in a sequence of Mesring being tortured in the prison confinement, as a solo actor onsite, Vincent Cassel hardly spoke a word, his groaning, his body language made you realise what a powerful acting can do and what makes a gangster film a master piece, which will no doubt stand the test of the time.
I am looking forward to Mesrine: Public Enemy No.1 at the end of this month.