Critic Reviews



Based on 23 critic reviews provided by
The films never lose sight of Mesrine the man, a fascinating character in that he's brutal yet extremely intelligent, has a skewed but discernible conscience, and, under the right circumstances, can be warm and generous.
Chicago Sun-Times
The acting is macho understatement. Mesrine is a character who might have been played years ago by Gerard Depardieu, who appears here as Guido, a bullet-headed impresario of larceny.
Cassel's performance...the best reason to see this, one of the best French (In French with English subtitles) crime thrillers of the new millennium.
The Hollywood Reporter
Part One, at least, is a French "Bonnie and Clyde."
The enjoyment of the film comes from watching Mesrine's ambitions grow slowly but exponentially; the shock is in being reminded and re-reminded of his sadism.
The real-life career criminal Jacques Mesrine is seen in all his wild, scary, violent glory.
So what is it? Primarily it's a showcase for Vincent Cassel, who dines out on the role and won a Cesar award (the Gallic Oscar) for his efforts.
As biographical crime thrillers go, Killer Instinct is a worthy entry to the genre, although the incompleteness of the story makes it difficult to evaluate on its own. The movie needs to be seen in the context of a greater whole for it to be fully appreciated.
The events may be accurate, but Mesrine is so episodic that it's slightly maddening to watch.
Mostly it's frustrating; the film is an episodic jumble that runs hot and cold not in some implied thematic synchronicity with its subject's character but as part of a misguided approach that assumes the audience will find whatever Mesrine does, in whatever order and with whatever emphasis, inherently fascinating.
There's enough action to keep us watching, but little incentive to return when the movie's second half - yep, another two hours - hits theaters next week.

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