Mesrine: Killer Instinct (Mesrine: L'instinct de mort) 2010

Mesrine: Part 1 - Death Instinct

Critics Consensus

It's undeniably uneven, but Vincent Cassel's electrifying performance makes Mesrine: Killer Instinct a gangster biopic worth seeking out.

82%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 72

84%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 20,472

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Mesrine: Part 1 - Death Instinct Photos

Movie Info

French gangster Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassel) eventually becomes Public Enemy No. 1.

Cast & Crew

Vincent Cassel
Jacques Mesrine
Cécile De France
Jeanne Schneider
Gérard Depardieu
Guido
Roy Dupuis
Jean-Paul Mercier
Michel Duchaussoy
Pierre André Mesrine
Myriam Boyer
La mère de Jacques Mesrine
Jean-François Richet
Director
Jean-François Richet
Screenwriter
Daniel Delume
Executive Producer
Marcus Trumpp
Original Music
Robert Gantz
Cinematographer
Hervé Schneid
Film Editor
Patrice Farner
Casting
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News & Interviews for Mesrine: Killer Instinct (Mesrine: L'instinct de mort)

Critic Reviews for Mesrine: Killer Instinct (Mesrine: L'instinct de mort)

All Critics (72) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (59) | Rotten (13)

  • Quote not available.

    November 16, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    David Jenkins

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Four hours of French gangsters may not sound like a cinematic joy, but with Euro-star Vincent Cassel in the lead role, the movie is utterly hypnotic.

    August 12, 2011 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…
  • The effect of Richet's hyperventilating filmmaking is akin to that of an extended-play trailer.

    January 21, 2011

    Robert Koehler

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • It captures the rush of crime as a way of life for a man who did and took whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted, simply because he could take it.

    October 7, 2010 | Rating: 3/4
  • Cassel is a gifted actor, but he doesn't have enough to grab on to. Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/2010/08/27/2010-08-27_short_takes_mesrine_killer_instinct_highwater_centurion.html#ixzz0xq7eUPID

    August 27, 2010 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Cassel, who took the best actor award at France's equivalent of the Oscars for this role, is compulsively watchable.

    August 27, 2010 | Rating: 4.5/5

Audience Reviews for Mesrine: Killer Instinct (Mesrine: L'instinct de mort)

  • Oct 15, 2013
    Mesrine: Killer Instinct is one of the best crime dramas that I've seen in quite some time. The film is based on the real life of Jacques Mesrine, a notorious French bank robber and murderer who became France's Public Enemy Number One. the film which stars Vincent Cassel in the lead role is phenomenal and looks like the real guy. The film tells about his rise in crime, and how he became one of the most wanted criminals in France's history. Gerard Depardieu also stars and both men are terrific in the film. Mesrine is an accomplished Crime film that is only rivaled by Martin Scorsese's finest genre films. The film is riveting in its execution, and the performances are top notch. With this first part of Mesrine's story, we get to see why he was revered by the public, but really he was a cold blooded criminal that was a menace to society. Director Jean-Francois Richet crafts a stunning gangster film that will delight genre fans. The film is raw, gritty and ugly. Mesrine was not a figure to admire, and director Richet captures that aspect perfectly. Brilliantly told, and with a strong performance in the lead role, Mesrine: Killer Instinct is a taught drama that never glamorizes the exploits of the infamous Jacques Mesrine. If you enjoy the genre, give this film a shot, you will surely enjoy it. I found the film to be very entertaining and well executed. Crime films are hard to do, mostly because the ideas tend to be overly clichéd and slightly predictable. However here, since this film is based on real events, it makes for a highly engaging film going experience that is unflinching because the story of Jacques Mesrine is quite interesting, and this film, along with its second half strips away the Robin Hood quality that the Press of the era gave him.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Oct 23, 2012
    Killer Instinct is the story of notorious criminal Jacques Mesrine who progressed from petty crime on the streets of Paris to become Canada's public enemy number one. Kind of like a Gallic Goodfellas, Mesrine is based on a real gangster and similarly spans decades of his life. Vincent Cassel puts in a quality performance as the charismatic psychopath who became a media sensation in the early 1970s and although he is hardly the most likeable protagonist, his outlandish acts are consistently both entertaining to watch and quite incredible to believe. There are some quality set pieces, the scene in which he and his partner single-handedly attack a maximum security prison in which they were both tortured is a particular highlight. It is a little episodic and it lacks the depth of characterisation that draws you fully into this kind of life story, but it is always exciting to watch and I am very much looking forward to Part Two.
    xGary X Super Reviewer
  • Aug 13, 2012
    Stereotypes die hard. Now, I haven't seen enough French films to place valid stereotypes on the entire French film industry, but from the few that I've seen, I would say that these are the stereotypes: - Extremely gritty and dark. Unafraid to get into every nook and cranny of its dark universe, but doesn't always have emotion, thematic, moralistic, or artistic substance to back up its bold embrace towards the dark. - Plot points always involve some sort of taboo-breaking violence or sexual act for the sake of shock value and nothing more. - Almost always a gangster film. - Focuses so much on realism that artistic value takes a back seat. "Mesrine: Killer Instinct" matches every stereotype mentioned but considerably fails to immerse audience members in its narrative and characters. It's gritty and bleak, coupled with an emotionally disattached narrative and borderline taboo-breaking violence. I'm all down for dark films -- as a matter of fact, I embrace it. But when a film decides to portray a gritty tone, there's gotta be a reason behind it other than for style. This has been my number one griping issue with many of the French films that I've seen. Killer Instinct is no different, in fact, worse compared to other French movies which leads to my biggest issue with this film: The direction. Killer Instinct's narrative shoots out in a very linear fashion. Nothing wrong with that, as long as its commanding throughout. As the scenes roll along, I began to realize that Killer Instinct does just that: It shows sequences of events with no opinion, no emotion, no siding, no themes, or no morals. It tells it as it is. In other words, there's zero substance found here other then the portrayal of the actual plot points. As one would probably say, "This is a biopic. It isn't fictionalized and the director isn't trying to add in anything that isn't part of truth." I understand that. Regardless, there's nothing movie-goers could take into account other then the disturbingly soul-blotting violence and the extremely one-dimensional narrative. Let's say the director's choice to be respectful to these actual events didn't bother me -- still doesn't make up the fact that Killer Instinct's narrative is extremely uneven. On certain occasions, tension's boiling at an all-time high, and on other occasions, it becomes dreadfully dull, making me question why I wanted to watch the movie in the first place. If you've heard or read about the true story of Jacque Mesrine, you're not getting any additional insight in this true story if you watch this film. The only thing it may accentuate is the gravity of violence that Mesrine enacted. Killer Instinct was a complete mess. Direction got increasingly bad, the narrative holds no grounds other then events recorded on a timeline, and the film gives no effort to immerse movie goers. Hey, Vincent Cassel's one beast actor, but even he couldn't lift this film to higher grounds. You can probably say, it was a bad move for him to be involved in this project; he trusted the bad instincts (sorry... horrible pun super intended). Killer Instinct boasts a dark tone with a riveting story, and at moments, you may be sitting at the edge of your seat, but by the end, you'll be wondering what the point of the film was and end up not caring to figure it out. This is one empty film.
    Albert K Super Reviewer
  • Jan 20, 2012
    A great gangster thriller that is made even better by the fact that you know it's based on a true story. Mesrine is outrageous and gets away with ridiculous things during the film (the prison break and return is incredibly tense) and if he commits crimes that are repelent you still can't help but like the guy. Part of this is due to the fact that he actually seems to have a code that he follows but mostly it is down to Cassel's magnetic performance. I'm looking forward to seeing the 2nd part soon.
    David S Super Reviewer

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