Mesrine: Killer Instinct ( instinct de mort, L' )
Mesrine: Killer Instinct
Jacques Mesrine was the last of the "great" French gangsters, his criminal career spanning more than 20 years of kidnappings, robberies, murders and prison escapes in some half-dozen countries ... until his death in a hail of police bullets in the middle of Paris in 1979. He was kind of a gallic Pretty Boy Floyd, capturing the imagination of the French public and the devotion of several French molls. Director Jean-Franēois Richet takes his time telling Mesrine's story, splitting the narrative into two films: this and "Mesrine: Public Enemy #1." Though released in France in 2008, "Public Enemy" only made it to the states last year -- but it was worth the wait. Vincent Cassel ("Brotherhood of the Wolf," "Black Swan," "A Dangerous Method") is alternately charming and menacing as Mesrine, an ex-soldier who lost his humanity during the Algerian War and learned how to wage his own battles against the French wealthy class upon his return home. It's a sweeping tale of violence, hatred, lust and power that totally mesmerizes the viewer in the way that "Goodfellas" and "Casino" keeps you glued to the screen.