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

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

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


Movie Info

This tough and gritty French-language crime drama represents the premier installment in a two-part series of features on the life and doings of notorious Gallic hood Jacques Mesrine (1936-1979). Mesrine is played, in both installments, by actor Vincent Cassel, who reportedly underwent massive weight gain and weight loss to convincingly portray the volatile Mesrine at various periods of his life. Director Jean-François Richet begins in 1979, with Mesrine's uncommonly violent death, whereby he and … More

Rating: R (for strong brutal violence, some sexual content and language)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Art House & International
Directed By:
Written By: Abdel Raouf Dafri
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 22, 2011
Box Office: $0.6M
Runtime:
Music Box Films - Official Site

Cast


as Jacques Mesrine

as Jeanne Schneider

as Jean-Paul Mercier

as Sofia

as Mesrine's Father

as Mesrine's Mother

as Sylvia Jeanjacquot

as Charlie Bauer

as Michel Ardouin

as Commissioner Broussa...

as The Billionaire

as Mesrine's Lawyer

as Interviewer

as Journalist

as François Besse
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Mesrine: Killer Instinct (L'instinct de mort)

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

All Critics (69) | Top Critics (25)

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.

Full Review… | August 12, 2011
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

The effect of Richet's hyperventilating filmmaking is akin to that of an extended-play trailer.

Full Review… | January 21, 2011
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.

Full Review… | October 7, 2010
Miami Herald
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | August 27, 2010
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Cassel, who took the best actor award at France's equivalent of the Oscars for this role, is compulsively watchable.

Full Review… | August 27, 2010
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

Much of it plays like an unintentional mash-up of the numerous wrong-side-of-the-law sagas that preceded it.

Full Review… | August 27, 2010
Washington Post
Top Critic

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

½

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.

garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

The first of the two part "Mesrine" films, this is much more of an introduction into the life of the titular character than it is a true crime biopic. It shows the life leading up to his infamous prison break and subsequent crime spree. Real life criminal Jacques Mesrine led a long and interesting life, starting in the French Army, stationed in Algiers. With the army training him in torture and murder, Mesrine rose through the ranks of the criminal elite early, embracing friends and colleagues in order to become a petty thief and armed robber. Throughout the film we see Mesrine struggle with trying to keep his family together, and when he becomes unemployed, we see the destructive rage and violence he can enact on his loved ones. There's very little empathy or understanding in Vincent Cassel's performance as the troubled crook, hell-bent on sustaining himself through crime. Not only that but he is a survivor of a corrupt prison, a runaway, a thief, and a madman. Throughout the film we see the steady incline from low level criminal to the raving hellion he comes to be. Great performances from the women of the film as well, including Anaya as his beaten down wife, and De France as his companion Jeanne, following him on a spree through the United States after a foiled kidnapping in Canada. The plot moves quite fast, so some life events feel hurried and not completely covered, which is to make room for the impending sequel, "Public Enemy # 1." Though I don't think this should have been a two part film, it's very interesting, and all performances are crisp, never even tempered, and awash in gritty violence. This man is beyond interesting, both a rogue maniac and a survivor in most respects, making this a great watch.

FrizzDrop
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

½

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.

TheDudeLebowski65
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

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