Martin Scorsese at his most ebullient can give the impression that Old Hollywood taught its audience how to act in every imaginable scenario. But sometimes the things we learn from movies are just slightly absurd…
TG4 is showing the second part of 2009 French crime epic Mesrine next Friday night. But while Mesrine: Public Enemy No 1 is a sprawling and rewarding saga it’s to be hoped that TG4 don’t fall asleep at the wheel like they did when they premiered the movie. Vincent Cassell’s legendary bank-robber Jacques Mesrine had just escaped from prison by shinning over a wall with Mathieu Amalric’s fellow prisoner Besse when the prison guards finally noticed and started to shoot and give chase. Mesrine and Besse made it to a car, but left behind their third prisoner when he got shot on the other side of the street; making it impossible to bundle him into the car. As they took off in the car, TG4 cut to an ad-break. But somebody while pushing the button to start the ads forgot to also push the button to stop the movie… And so, after the ad-break, instead of the hair-raising stylish escape across town in a car and a train, we caught up with Mesrine and Besse in a flat. It gives the impression that escaping from French prisons is surprisingly easy; almost as if we missed this scene on the street…
EXT.STREETSIDE OF PRISON WALL – DAY.
The burly Chief Warden PIERRE runs panting out of immensely heavy doors; which open just a fraction of a second before he bolts thru them. He finds two young prison guards JEAN and MARC standing beside a wounded PRISONER and looking disconsolately down the street. Pierre follows their gaze and sees a car containing MESRINE and BESSE is speeding away…
PIERRE: What are you two imbeciles doing? Why aren’t you chasing Mesrine?
JEAN: (quietly) He crossed the street.
PIERRE: (in disbelief) No!!
MARC: Yes, he just, he came out, and then he just… crossed right on over.
PIERRE: Pierrot Le Fou! I hate that rule…
JEAN: We couldn’t do anything.
MARC: I even had a shot, but he had one foot on the pavement, and I didn’t want to take the shot because I thought that might be against the rules.
PIERRE: You were quite right not to shoot, Marc. The last thing we want is to put ourselves in the wrong.
JEAN: (sadly) If it was even just a little wider, as a street.
PIERRE: Well what do you expect when you put a prison in the middle of a residential part of town? Oh God, that rule is just so infuriating!
MARC: Permission to go back in and beat le snot out of the other prisoners as misplaced frustration?
PIERRE: Granted. Give us your baton there and I’ll start.
Marc hands Pierre his baton. Pierre idly whacks the wounded prisoner about the head a few times; then tosses the baton away in disgust.
PIERRE: (shaking his fist) Damn you Mesrine!
JEAN: He pronounces it May-reen.
PIERRE: Shut up.