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MESRINE: KILLER INSTINCT

What You Need To Know:

MESRINE (“May-reen”): KILLER INSTINCT is the first of two French movies telling the story of Jacques Mesrine (“May-Reen”), the most notorious criminal in France. Like many criminals, Jacques Mesrine starts out in a legitimate profession, working as an interrogator for the French police before turning to a life of crime. Once he makes the leap into lawlessness, he becomes immersed in never-ending deceit and thievery, which often escalates into much more brutal criminality. The story leads to a cliffhanger in which he and an accomplice shoot a pair of policemen dead.

KILLER INSTINCT is packed wall-to-wall with crime, violence, brutality, foul language, and some sexual content. The movie is brilliantly acted by its lead, Vincent Cassel, who delivers a performance that spans 14 years in the life of the Gallic gangster. Solid performances combine with non-stop action and occasional tender moments showing the gangster’s regrets. However, the movie’s portrait of a nihilistic outlaw who will do almost anything to steal money is a soul-searing, abhorrent experience that is almost completely without moral merit. In fact, the movie tries to make viewers root for the criminal protagonist’s frequent escapes from prison.

Content:

(PaPaPa, B, RH, LLL, VVV, SS, N, AA, D, MMM) Very strong pagan worldviews with some regrets about a criminal lifestyle, plus some revisionist history; more than 100 obscenities and profanities; very strong violence includes protagonist tortures people during Algerian war, multiple bank robberies in which people are either shot at or threatened with guns, multiple occasions throughout in which guns are used to club someone into unconsciousness, main character puts a gun in his wife’s mouth during an argument until their young son sees him; strong sexual content includes adultery and fornication depicted and implied sex scene with heavy sensuality; upper male nudity; alcohol use and drunkenness; smoking; and, stealing, gambling, escapes from prison, bank robberies, kidnapping, and a life of crime.

More Detail:

The story of France’s most notorious criminal, Jacques Mesrine (“May-reen”), is unveiled in MESRINE: KILLER INSTINCT, the first of a two-part film (the other being MESRINE: PUBLIC ENEMY #1, also in theatres). KILLER INSTINCT is packed wall-to-wall with crime, violence, brutality, foul language, and some sexual content.

Like many criminals, Jacques Mesrine starts out in a legitimate profession, working as an interrogator for the French police before turning to a life of crime. Once he makes the leap into lawlessness, he is immersed in never-ending deceit and thievery, which often escalates into much more brutal criminality. The story leads to a cliffhanger in which he and an accomplice shoot a pair of policemen dead.

KILLER INSTINCT is brilliantly acted by its lead, Vincent Cassel, who delivers a performance that spans 14 years in the life of the Gallic gangster. Solid performances combine with non-stop action and occasional tender moments showing Mesrine’s regrets. This gives the movie the qualities it needed to win the 2009 Cesar Awards for Best Actor and Best Director in France.

However, the movie’s portrait of a nihilistic outlaw who will do almost anything to keep taking money is a soul-searing experience that is almost completely without moral merit. In fact, the movie tries to make viewers root for the criminal protagonist’s frequent escapes from prison and sympathize with his sadness over the family members he has let down. Ultimately, this is a stylish exercise in activity that has no redeeming moral value.

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Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.