One part Godfather, one part Mesrine, A Gang Story is honestly one of the most magnetizing films I’ve been engrossed with. The plot is detailed, but solid – cleverly paced, and strategically told in a manner that will keep you guessing and deliver surprises throughout.
The Lyons Gang, historically a real group of organized criminals in France, is attributed with a number of famous robberies – though the core membership never acknowledged guilt, following a mafia-like code of silence when facing law enforcement authorities. A Gang Story, while it takes some substantial artistic license with the history, is the long-term history of the fellows of the Lyons Gang – a compelling movie that is told across two major plots.
In some ways, the timing of my selection for reviewing the Mesrine duology for our streaming feature is a little poignant. I am writing this the day after the Dorner standoff at the cabin in San Bernardino County; and I cannot help but find and mark some striking similarities between the two cases. The two fugitives both have devotees that view their cases with empathy, and both met (allegedly) similar ends at the hands of an overeager group of law enforcement officials. Except in this case, there’s no crispy result for old Jacques Mesrine.
Point Blank hits all-speed-ahead from the very beginning. It is unapologetically an action film, with a good dose of thriller elements and high suspense. Made in France under the title Ã€ Bout Portant, the movie is an enjoyable experience with some brilliant performances from some excellent actors who I hope we will see more of in future cinema experiences.
Get out your popcorn and don’t look for meaning, subtext, or symbolism – this is a pure action flick taking influence and structure from some of the most reliable and exciting stories of ages long gone.