Mesrine: Killer Instinct (part 1)

Mesrine: Killer Instinct (part 1)

On DVD: 
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Running Time: 
113 minutes

Spanning the years of 1959-1972, "Mesrine: Killer Instinct (part 1)" follows Jacques Mesrine from his years as a soldier in the Algerian War (1959) through his colorful and mostly successful career as a bank robber, kidnapper, prison breaker, and killer all by the age of 36! Oh, he also had 2 wives, 3 kids, and a number of mistresses and girlfriends along the way. Jacques was a busy man and well-traveled. And by "well-traveled" I mean he escaped the law and was extradited, but hey, travel is travel.

Yep, real guy, real incidents and some crazy-good casting as Cassel for Mesrine, almost spot-on. (Don't believe me? Look at the pictures below.) Not to mention that Cassell all but disappears into the romanticized gangster. He's charming, manipulative, controlling, deadly, but also caring and compassionate, especially when his children are involved.

Gerard Depardieu is a perfect fit as Guido (no really), the "godfather" type character, who molds Mesrine into his future self. He is quiet, calculating, decisive, and he knows how to run a town. Another amazing job from Depardieu; no teddy bear French man here. And don't ever get in the back seat of a chauffered car with him. Just saying...

"Mesrine" is a completely engaging and exciting film. The pacing and storytelling never lag and make the viewer wonder "well, damn, what is he up to THIS time?" Director, Jean-Francois Richet, convinces you that Jacques is a completely likeable and sympathetic character despite his inclination to do very bad things. His split-screen direction during the film keep you on your toes, just because you get to see different vantage points of what's going on.

"Mesrine: Killer Instinct (part 1)" is a brilliant film that any lover of cinema (yes cin-e-ma) will enjoy. This is only part 1, and I MUST SEE PART 2: Public Enemy No. 1.

Review by Jennifer Isbell