The two-part film follows Jacques Mesrine from his early 20s right up to his death after a long life of robbery, murder, and numerous sentences in prison from which he usually escaped. I heard that none of his alleged murders have actually been proven even to this day.
I found the film a little segmented: his friends and girlfriends seem to all appear in groups rather than by coming and going. For instance, he has a wife and his two French gangster buddies at first, then a French-Canadian pal and a bonnie-like (from Bonnie and Clyde) girlfriend, and then a gold-digging girlfriend and his mate the prison-escape artist. The daughter from his marriage appears towards the end when she’s grown up but I didn’t think she was used enough in the second film. The contrast between the characters of Mesrine and his father was really interesting and I think they could have balanced the second film out a little more by exploring the relationship between him and his daughter further. Blow is a film that looks into the main character’s gangster lifestyle and family relationships in equal proportions.
I thought Mesrine was a little like how Johnny Depp is said to have described Bush’s America: a big dumb dog. He seemed to have learned how to rob banks and then never looked back. For instance, the scene where he discusses his interest in going after ‘the system’ and attacking the max-security prisons; his ex-Algerian-freedom-fighter partner points out that he has more or less funded the MSAs by spending the money he steals in the shops.
Still, the variety in characters and actors is fantastic and I was really glad they didn’t try to make Mesrine some sort of hero; instead, they relied on his lovable humour and reckless unpredictability to entertain the audience right to the end. Well worth getting.