7.5/10
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Mesrine Part 1: Killer Instinct (2008)

L'instinct de mort (original title)
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1:40 | Trailer
The story of the notorious French gangster Jacques Mesrine, with the focus on his life before the early 1970s and the events that led to him being declared Public Enemy No. 1 in France.

Writers:

Jacques Mesrine (book), Abdel Raouf Dafri (scenario) | 2 more credits »
8 wins & 15 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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Both of the love interests in the film - Elena Anaya who plays Sofia and Cécile de France who plays Jeanne - were born on the same day, July 17th, 1975. See more »

Goofs

At the metro station in Montreal, the man is standing in Sherbrooke station smoking, but as the train arrives, the footage is from Bonaventure station. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Chattering with Nicholas Vince (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Stand by your Man
Written by Billy Sherrill and Tammy Wynette
Performed by Tammy Wynette
See more »

User Reviews

 
The French Clyde Barrow
17 November 2010 | by dharmendrasinghSee all my reviews

It is true that Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassel) was France's public enemy number one during the 60s and 70s. It is also true that he murdered several people, robbed banks, repeatedly escaped from prison, and basically did all the things that legendary criminals aspire to do. But to think of him as just another criminal would be an unreasonable caricature.

In this first half of the notorious gangster's life, director Jean-Francois Richet evinces the louche charm of the French criminal underworld in an effort to depict Jacques in a sympathetic light.

After a troubling time soldiering in the Algerian War, Jacques returns to Paris, where before long his sense of dissatisfaction takes charge of him and he accepts a friend's offer of 'off-the-book work', i.e. crime.

He is introduced to Guido (Gerard Depardieu), the head of a right-wing terrorist group operating in France's underworld. Guido recruits him, but warns that 'In our business, you don't win'. Depardieu plays his role with quiet brilliance. His acting is understated, yet he manages to be eerily menacing.

While on holiday Jacques, in a manner that would rival a James Bond-style seduction, beguiles then later marries his Spanish wife, Sofia (Elena Anaya). His sojourn is curtailed, however, when he goes back to Paris to murder the Arab pimp of a former lover.

That Jacques is a ruthless, relentless recidivist is never for one moment hidden. He may be a gangster, who violently casts aside his wife for his friends, but this is a man of principle, albeit criminal principle. He steals only from banks because, in his words, they have enough money to allow it; he never kills a person if they are unarmed; and he fulfills his promise to liberate his ex-prison inmates once he has successfully escaped himself. It is precisely these paradoxes which never quite allow you to feel that he is completely worthless.

He is finally jailed (on the first of several occasions) for a botched bank robbery. When he is released, he makes an attempt to 'go straight'. However, he is easily lured back and teams up with a new muse, Jeanne (Cecile De France), who displays a similar adroitness for crime. Jacques is now a celebrity, admired by the press, but demonised by the authorities.

The film's director claimed that only Cassel could have embodied this role. It is indeed the sheer magnetism of Cassel's portrayal that compels you to watch the second instalment.

www.scottishreview.net


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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

Gross USA:

$551,697

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$31,076,533
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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