Mesrine: Killer Instinct [L'Instinct de Mort]

"OK"

Mesrine: Killer Instinct [L'Instinct de Mort] Review


Edgy and rough, this is the first half of an energetic biopic about one of France's most notorious criminals. And with a riveting performance by Cassel at the centre, it's definitely worth seeing, even if it never really gets beneath the skin.

Jacques Mesrine (Cassel) is educated in brutality while serving as a soldier in Algeria. With his charismatic personality, he falls into a life of crime with the vicious mobster Guido (Depardieu). While fiercely protective of his Spanish wife Sofia (Anaya), he engages in nasty acts of vengeance and, after a stint in prison in 1962, finds a new wife Jeanne (DeFrance). They embark on a Bonnie & Clyde-style crime spree, travelling from Montreal to Arizona with the officials on their tail. But the Canadian prison can't hold him either.

Filmmaker Richet races through this story so quickly that we rarely get any sense of the situations or the characters. This is bold, confident, sexy filmmaking, but it feels like it bounces across the surface of this man's life.

Along the way, Richet captures the 1960s in vivid detail (including some groovy split-screen imagery) and includes some truly audacious sequences that keep us on the edge of our seats. But as a whole, it feels oddly episodic.

What makes it work is Cassel's vigorous turn as a forceful, likeable monster.

He's larger than life in the role, exuding cocky confidence and a disdain for any form of law. But while we warm to the twinkle in his eye, we never believe that he has any real concern for his friends or family beyond a vague sense of duty. In this sense it's an odd performance, because Cassel is so terrific at capturing this man's charisma, but we wonder why anyone would want to spend a moment in his presence.

The frantic pace doesn't help either, as the film leaps from scene to scene without much connective tissue. We struggle to keep up with the stream of characters and events. But each lively, action-packed, harrowing or emotional scene is wonderfully staged and performed, with superb moments featuring Cassel as well as the always watchable DeFrance and Depardieu on peak form in gruff tough-guy mode. Next up: the '70s...



Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Production compaines: La Petite Reine, Remstar Productions, Novo RPI

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Cast & Crew

Producer:

Starring: as Jacques Mesrine, as Jeanne Schneider, as Guido, as Paul, Roy Dupuis as Jean-Paul Mercier, as Sofia, as Sarah, as Pierre André Mesrine, Abdelhafid Metalsi as Ahmed, Deano Clavet as Roger André, as Sylvie Jeanjacquot

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

After the formulaic thrills of The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron, Marvel's Avengers were...

Son of Saul Movie Review

Son of Saul Movie Review

From Hungary, this year's Oscar-winning foreign film is a remarkably fresh take on the Holocaust...

Demolition Movie Review

Demolition Movie Review

With its darkly emotive themes and brittle humour, this well-made drama by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas...

Bastille Day Movie Review

Bastille Day Movie Review

An attempt to muscle in on Luc Besson's Taken-style of thriller, this is an odd...

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Expectations are a problem with this year's Secret Cinema event. After the jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing surprises...

Jane Got a Gun Movie Review

Jane Got a Gun Movie Review

With its grindingly low-key tension and unusual perspectives, this Western has a chance to revamp...

Criminal Movie Review

Criminal Movie Review

Almost criminally entertaining, this preposterous thriller mixes buckets of humour and emotion into the violent,...

Advertisement
The Jungle Book Movie Review

The Jungle Book Movie Review

Using remarkably photorealistic animation, this remake of the 1967 Disney classic is warm and enjoyable,...

Eye in the Sky Movie Review

Eye in the Sky Movie Review

Almost forensic in its approach, this smart thriller explores a drone strike from a variety...

Midnight Special Movie Review

Midnight Special Movie Review

Gifted director Jeff Nichols takes on another genre in his fourth film with actor Michael...

Boulevard Movie Review

Boulevard Movie Review

This dark, introspective drama hinges on one of Robin Williams' final film performances before his...

The Huntsman: Winter's War Movie Review

The Huntsman: Winter's War Movie Review

Aside from success at the box office, there was nothing about 2012's rather uneven fantasy...

Black Mountain Poets Movie Review

Black Mountain Poets Movie Review

It's fairly obvious that the cast and crew began making this film with only the...

Victoria Movie Review

Victoria Movie Review

One of the most breathtaking films of the year, this ambitious story shifts from a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.