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.

Writers:

Jacques Mesrine (book), Abdel Raouf Dafri (scenario) | 2 more credits »
8 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vincent Cassel ... Jacques Mesrine
Cécile de France ... Jeanne Schneider (as Cécile De France)
Gérard Depardieu ... Guido
Gilles Lellouche ... Paul
Roy Dupuis ... Jean-Paul Mercier
Elena Anaya ... Sofia
Florence Thomassin Florence Thomassin ... Sarah
Michel Duchaussoy ... Pierre André Mesrine - le père de Jacques Mesrine
Myriam Boyer Myriam Boyer ... La mère de Jacques Mesrine
Abdelhafid Metalsi Abdelhafid Metalsi ... Ahmed - le proxénète
Gilbert Sicotte ... Le milliardaire
Deano Clavet ... Roger André
Ludivine Sagnier ... Sylvie Jeanjacquot
Mustapha Abourachid ... Le harki
Sofiane Benrazzak 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 »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

France | Canada | Italy

Language:

French | English | Arabic | Spanish

Release Date:

22 October 2008 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Mesrine: Killer Instinct See more »

Filming Locations:

Clichy, Hauts-de-Seine, France See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$152,873, 29 August 2010, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$551,660, 25 February 2011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Visa d'exploitation n° 116593 See more »

Goofs

When Mesrine returns to Canada after his arrest in the USA he is shown on an Air Canada Caravelle, an aircraft never flown in real life by Air Canada. See more »

Connections

Followed by Mesrine Part 2: Public Enemy #1 (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

La dance de Zorba
(Zorba's Dance)
Written by Mikis Theodorakis (as Theodorakis)
Performed by Dalida
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User Reviews

 
Parts 1 & 2 together, Epic.
27 July 2009 | by come2whereimfromSee all my reviews

Every once in a while a part comes along that is cast so well it's as if the actor was born to play and will forever be remembered for that role. Vincent Cassels portrayal of Frances public enemy number one, Jacques Mesrine, is one such role. Funny, disturbing, charming, psychotic and more Cassel is the larger than life criminal achieving a completely believable character study of someone the French press dubbed 'the man of a thousand faces' due to his ability to change his looks so often to evade the police. In fact the truth behind this most notorious of stories is so unbelievable at times that the filmmakers left parts out thinking the audience would think it was just too far fetched, in fact after watching the escapades of Mesrine I too thought 'all that couldn't have happened surely?' But after a little bit of homework I found that it did indeed all take place and after seeing the tale unfold you realise why Mesrine got his Monika. The film, told in two parts, opens with a brilliant seventies cop style feel and begins at the end before returning us to the start where we see a young Mesrine in the army fighting in the Algerian war, on his return to his native Paris he quickly becomes entangled with Guido a mafia boss played superbly by Gerard Depardieu (why had no one cast him in this kind of role before?) and over the course of the next four thrilling hours he rises to become the career criminal that became an embarrassment to the French police and government. Shot all grainy and washed out with an amazing attention to detail we follow Mesrine from bank robberies to kidnap, general violence to daring prison escapes and in a complete juxtaposition we see the family man, the charmer and the comedian. Hailed by some as a kind of Robin Hood figure the film never judges either way and gives you enough information for you to make up your own mind but of course with a figure so complex it's hard when the lines blur. He obviously loves his children doting on them in one scene but in another he smashes a glass in a man's face and beats and leaves a journalist for dead after he wrote a disparaging article about him. What doesn't help is that a lot of what happens is taken from the book Mesrine wrote in prison 'Killer Instinct' a work that he himself has said was slightly exaggerated to make him seen more notorious than he actually was. Overall though the film is a thrill ride from start to finish and can hold its own with any of the great gangster epics. Stylish, violent and gob smacking, it's a must see and with the immersive bravado of Cassel as Mesrine this film will be one that will be held in high esteem for some time to come.


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