[Marxism] Two gangster movies

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Jul 31 17:38:22 MDT 2010

Just by coincidence, two very flawed but interesting gangster movies 
came my way recently, taking entirely different approaches to their 
anti-heroes. Both open soon in New York and are worth the price of 
admission, especially if you can get a senior discount like me.

Jean-Francois Richet’s Mesrine: Killer Instinct is the first part of a 
biopic about Jacques Mesrine who was public enemy number one for many 
years in France until he was ambushed and killed by 80 cops in August, 
1979. It is deliberately and forcefully anti-romantic. Played skillfully 
by Vincent Cassel, this is a Mesrine lacking entirely in the bogus 
chivalry of the Corleone family in Francis Coppola’s classic. You sit 
through 113 minutes of sheer brutality, mesmerized by Cassel’s ability 
to convey malevolence and little else.

Quite the opposite, Johnnie To’s Vengeance is a highly romanticized 
fantasy about Chinese triad gangsters being willing to sacrifice their 
own lives in a quest to take vengeance on another group of gangsters who 
left French restaurateur’s daughter mortally wounded, while killing her 
Chinese husband and children in a raid. Johnny Halliday, a French 
rock-and-roll musician from the 1960s–not a very good actor, I’m 
afraid–plays Francis Costello, the restaurateur. The main appeal of the 
movie is its stylized camera-work and noirish touches that To has 
mastered to the point of perfection.

full: http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2010/07/31/two-gangster-movies/

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