Wednesday, September 1, 2010


True story
Original title: L'instinct de mort
In French with English subtitles.

Jacques Rene Mesrine (pronounced may-rean) was born in Clichy, a suburb of Paris on 28 December 1936. He attended the prestigious Catholic school Collège de Juilly but was expelled for his aggressive behavior. After serving with the French Army during the Algerian War of Independence he returned to France in 1959.

Vincent Cassel: Jacques Mesrine, former soldier
Gilles Lellouche: his long time friend Paul
Gérard Depardieu: low-level crime boss Guido
Elena Anaya: Sofia, a dark haired Spanish girl
Cécile de France Jeanne Schneider, a raven haired beauty
Roy Dupuis: small time crook Jean-Paul Mercier

A fast-paced biographical crime thriller with whole chunks of time simply bypassed which is a bit unsettling with the outcome of the scene left to your own imagination.

Although the run time approaches two hours it does not seem overly long, in part because of the crisp editing but more so because it is a riveting portrayal of a fascinating man.

The acting is first class and the action virtually non-stop.

for strong brutal violence, some sexual content and language.

With great attention to detail on the part of the producers (correct coloured Quebec license plates for the year, stubbies during the 1960’s etc) it has not been easy to come up with too many nitpicks. Nevertheless I got a couple:
• Jacques and Jeanne were travelling through Arkansas when they got stopped rather than in Utah. But I have to admit, Arches National Park is much more scenic.
• The product placement rotating bottle nitpick: from one shot to the next the bottle rotates so that the label is clearly seen. In this instance all this takes place while Jacques and Jean-Paul are doing some work on a metal platform while drinking Molson Export beer.
• At the end of their telephone conversation Jeanne hangs up and Jacques is left listening to a busy signal. In reality the line goes dead and you hear nothing.

This is the first in a series currently in theatres. Stay tuned for part two.

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