7.6/10
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Mesrine Part 1: Killer Instinct (2008)

L'instinct de mort (original title)
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The story of french gangster Jacques Mesrine, before he was called Public Enemy N°1.

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(book), (scenario) | 2 more credits »
8 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Paul
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Florence Thomassin ...
Sarah
Michel Duchaussoy ...
Pierre André Mesrine - le père de Jacques Mesrine
Myriam Boyer ...
La mère de Jacques Mesrine
Abdelhafid Metalsi ...
Ahmed - le proxénète
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Le milliardaire
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Roger André
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Mustapha Abourachid ...
Le harki
Sofiane Benrazzak ...
Le Fellagah #1 (as Sophiane Benrezzak)
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Storyline

Mesrine: Killer Instinct -- the first of two parts -- charts the outlaw odyssey of Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassel), the legendary French gangster of the 1960s and 1970s who came to be known as French Public Enemy No. 1 and The Man of a Thousand Faces. Infamous for his bravado and outrageously daring prison escapes, Mesrine carried out numerous robberies, kidnappings and murders in a criminal career that spanned continents until he was shot dead in 1979 by France's notorious anti-gang unit. Thirty years after his death, his infamy lives on. Mesrine was helped along the way by beautiful and equally reckless Jeanne Schneider (Cécile de France), a Bonnie to match his Clyde. Mesrine made up his own epic, between romanticism and cruelty, flamboyance and tragedy. Written by Music Box Films

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong brutal violence, some sexual content and language | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

22 October 2008 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Mesrine Part 1: Killer Instinct  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£135,999 (UK) (9 August 2009)

Gross:

$551,660 (USA) (25 February 2011)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jean-Pierre Cassel was originally set for the role of Jacques Mesrine's father (ultimately held by Michel Duchaussoy) in this and Mesrine Part 2: Public Enemy #1 (2008). See more »

Goofs

At the Bonaventure metro station scene, when the metro arrives, a sound of the wheels screeching can be heard as the train stops. The Montreal metro has rubber wheels, so it normally stops silently. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Code Blue (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

"Whistlin' Joe'
Written by Joseph Tillman
Performed by Lloyd Lambert
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User Reviews

 
An exciting thriller dressed as a biopic
2 August 2009 | by (London, UK) – See all my reviews

A hugely entertaining action vehicle for Vincent Cassel on fine form. One can't help but think of it in terms of its close comparitors: Michael Mann's Public Enemies, a biopic of American gangster John Dillinger, is still on general release; and Steven Soderbergh's Che (Part One) was playing on the screen in the next-door auditorium. Not only is this Mesrine a more entertaining character than both Depp's Dillinger and Benicio Del Toro's Che Guevara, the bipartite biopic is a more entertaining film. That's not to say it's better though.

In this first part, we are shown Mesrine the career criminal. He gets underway with little backstory or prompting, and plays out the film as an increasingly autonomous bank robber. There's no empire building, no examination of the criminal mind or relationships, peripheral or central. It's basically a cycle of robbery, jailbreak and swagger: a brisk, urban updating of the gentleman highwayman.

This makes for a punchy criminal escapade, nicely shot in well-judged industry-standard-Greengrass-cam by Robert Ganz and lovingly charted with well-dated design by Emile Ghigo. Cécile de France's moll Jeanne is as subordinate as Marion Cotillard's Billie to Depp's Dillinger. I would have liked to have seen more of Elena Anaya's Sofia, both actor and character, who promised to be a significant figure in the Mesrine mythology but goes the same way as even the mighty Depardieu. By the end I was looking forward to the second instalment to develop something a little more revealing, or at least complex. 7/10


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