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aka: Killer Instinct, Public Enemy Number 1
France 2008, 246 minutes
Dir. Jean-François Richet
In French with English subtitles
Genres: Foreign Cinema, Suspense/Crime / Gangsters

Topics: Biopic.


Aroview: Effective, if at times highly sensationalised biopic of career criminal Jacques Mesrine – France’s ‘Public Enemy #1’ throughout the 1960s and 70s – powerfully portrayed by Vincent Cassell across two hefty feature-length movies.

With Mesrine’s notoriety and well-documented exploits providing plenty of ammunition for dir. Richet to disperse, viewers will no doubt revel in his rapid-fire version of events, from Bonnie & Clyde-style robbery sprees, to brazen casino heists, to high tension prison breaks. In so willfully indulging in the various suspense and gangster genre tropes though, the film is not without its cliches, and Cassell’s brutish performance – however faithful – has the misfortune of replicating every hotheaded mobster impersonation to come before him. Still, while lacking the nuance one might expect of French Cinema, this is a polished, briskly paced crime epic, serviced gamely by a dream ensemble cast.

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DVD Features

  • trailers
  • aspect ratio: 16:9
  • 2-disc set

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Mesrine cover
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