Mesrine: Death Instinct

Crime

Vincent Cassel snarls and swaggers his way into the acting big league as Jacques Mesrine Discuss this article

Vincent Cassel snarls and swaggers his way into the acting big league as Jacques Mesrine, the jail-springing, wife-beating, bank-robbing, kidnapping, anti-establishment poster boy of post-war France, injecting a jolt of wild energy and ambiguity into what could easily have been another flatulent, apologist gangster epic.

On the downside, there’s a feeling that every scene strains to make a point. In one sweep, the film blames Mesrine’s behaviour on his brutal experiences in Algeria (where he assisted in torture), his over-lenient parents and the instability of the labour market. Yet, as the film gallops forward, a more interesting conflict develops, and our early reading of Mesrine as an over-confident, trigger-happy jester has to be rethought.

The pacing is break neck and the direction, too, is no-frills – the action is rudimentary and some moments resemble a TV movie. But the cosmetic aspects of the film matter very little: Mesrine is about the personal ramifications of a life in crime.

By David Jenkins
Time Out Doha,

Mesrine: Death Instinct

  • Duration: 113
  • Released: Thu, 19 Aug
  • Classification: 15+
  • Language: French
  • Director: Jean-François Richet
  • Stars: Vincent Cassel, Gérard Depardieu, Cécile De France, Gilles Lellouche, Roy Dupuis, Elena Anaya, Michel Duchaussoy, Myriam Boyer, Florence Thomassin

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