Mesrine: Killer Instinct

Mesrine: Killer Instinct

Great Cinema - Mick Jordan

10 Points

Viewer Rating:Mick Jordan has rated Mesrine: Killer Instinct rating: 4 Star

You wait several years for a film about a real life gangster and then two come at once – one of them in two parts! While there have been a lot of comparisons between 'Mesrine” and earlier classics like “Scarface”; “Goodfellas” and “The Godfather” the film I was reminded of most throughout was this year's “Public Enemies”. Both films are based around the lives of real life hoodlums (Jacque Mesrine here, John Dillinger - there) who became the mythological Robin Hoods of their eras (without the irritating inconvenience of giving to the poor); both men worked alone or with small gangs concentrating mainly on hold-ups and bank robberies rather than actual organised crime; both men escaped from prison vowing never to be caught alive again – and both got their wish. 'Killer Instinct' is part 1 of the 'Mesrine' saga and starts with the ending of Part 2, with Jacques Mesrine confronted by a truck-load of armed police – in 1979. The film then flashes back to 1959 when he was a young 23 year old soldier caught up in the horrors of the Algerian war. Horrors that would help shape this young man into the paunchy middle-aged killer of twenty years later. On his return from the war Jacque falls quickly into the world of crime and quickly under the spell of local crime-lord Guido (Depardieu – of course) and his life of violence is mapped out ahead of him. In time he becomes a victim of that violence himself when he is thrown into a particularly vicious prison in Canada, subjected to months of solitary confinement; constant beatings and a diet of water and stale breadcrumbs. It is this treatment supposedly designed to break the spirit of the most hardened criminal that finally creates one in Mesrine. In the lead role Vincent Cassel is predictably excellent – he brings across both the humanity and brutality of the man but never portrays him as a hero. We don't empathise with Mesrine but we do feel we understand him. The film fairly zips through his life packing a lot of plot into its running time, indeed it comes as a shock when the end credits come up with “End of Part 1” and you realise two hours have gone. It leaves you eagerly waiting the next two.

Review published on the 19 August 2009 16:37

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gripping ganster classic - christopher

instantly gripping with powerhouse star performances,it will make want to speed through the weeks to see part 2 MORE
30 January 2010 13:08

Star Rating: has rated Mesrine: Killer Instinct rating: 4 Star

 

Taut and thoughful - Polly

'He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword' seems to be the core message in this movie, and Mesrine's acceptance of this, that he will pay the ultimate price at some time in the future, is... MORE
19 August 2009 12:45

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Great Action Flic - slydon13

This is about a French criminal set in the 60s and 70s during times of social upheaval. After time with the French army in Algeria Mesrine comes home a killer. He doesn't fit into the middle class... MORE
18 August 2009 23:29

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The best gangster film in years - Ian

Saw this last night. A brilliant film that puts Public Enemies to shame. Cannot wait to see part two of what is destined to be a classic crime film MORE
18 August 2009 12:08

Star Rating: has rated Mesrine: Killer Instinct rating: 5 Star

 

Shocking and provocative - Paula

I went to see this film based on the fact that I had seen Vincent Cassel in La Haine. This film was better than I expected. It is consistently violent but there are moments of disjointed tenderness... MORE
17 August 2009 20:20

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stylish french gangster epic - haKA KHAN

Vincent Cassel puts in a tremendous performance as the French gangster. Depardieu was good but tried too hard to imitate Marlon Brando as a crime boss in this gangster film. Part One stands up well... MORE
17 August 2009 18:42

Star Rating: has rated Mesrine: Killer Instinct rating: 3 Star

 

Well Executed - O'G

I thought the Director, Richet, Production Designer and Director of Photography did an excellent job of creating the sense of time and space ( mostly the 60's and 70's) in which the story and... MORE
14 August 2009 09:37

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Good but Violent - antoneyz

Movie its self is v good with a terrific central performance by Vincent Cassel, I think he was in every scene. The rest of the cast aren't so good, Gérard Depardieu made an appearance but he... MORE
12 August 2009 23:13

Star Rating: has rated Mesrine: Killer Instinct rating: 3 Star

 

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