Mesrine: Killer Instinct [L'Instinct de Mort]

"Good"

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

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

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.