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L'Instinct de Mort (2008)

Crime | 113 minutes
3,80 1.369 votes

Genre: Crime / Drama

Duration: 113 minuten

Alternative titles: Public Enemy Number One (Part 1) / Mesrine: L'Instinct de Mort

Country: France / Canada / Italy

Directed by: Jean-François Richet

Stars: Vincent Cassel, Cécile de France and Gérard Depardieu

IMDb score: 7,5 (35.246)

Releasedate: 22 October 2008

L'Instinct de Mort plot

Film adaptation of the life of Jacques Mesrine, a notorious French criminal of the 1970s. In this first part, we see how Mesrine, after serving in the French army in Algeria, tries to pick up his life again. However, he quickly becomes involved in crime through his friends and his crimes increase in size, later aided by his new love Jeanne Schneider. After France gets too hot for him, he continues on the same footing in Canada.

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Full Cast & Crew

Actors and actresses

Jacques Mesrine

Jeanne Schneider

Jean-Paul Mercier

Sylvie Jeanjacquot

Pierre André Mesrine, father of Jacques

Mesrine's mother

Reviews & comments


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avatar van dvdcrusher


  • 573 messages
  • 483 votes

One of the better French-language films with a wonderful role by Vincent Cassel who is, as it were, Mesrine incarnate in this film. Only when I saw the credits did I realize that Cassel was playing the lead role, I couldn't have guessed otherwise. After watching the first part, I immediately wanted to watch part 2. So that's a good sign. Very captivating film about a controversial figure. 5 stars, Deservedly in the top 250 of all time

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original

avatar van Fisico

Fisico (moderator films)

  • 8407 messages
  • 4718 votes

To be honest I've never heard of public enemy number 1 "Jacques Mesrine" before, so I'm from a later generation. The film was also unknown to me until recently. Part two will be out soon and I'm looking forward to it. Excellent film adaptation indeed, not in the least because of the credibly strong acting of Vincent Cassel.

Mesrine chained the crimes together and partly due to his short fuse he was very unpredictable and explosive (well, that's what the film shows). The fact that he was one of the most wanted French criminals of the time must have come from somewhere. Vincent Cassel initially refused the film's first screenplay because Mesrine was portrayed too romantically as a "hero". Like Bonnie and Clyde, a kind of aura was created around the person Mesrine. He ridiculed the French police and judicial system. Ultimately showing his dead body to the cameras had the wrong effect.

A fascinating figure, for sure. The film pays attention to the good and bad qualities of Mesrine. The fact that the film is divided into 2 parts of 2 hours each gives Mesrine the necessary depth and time to tell the story. The start of the movie with the split scenes was nice, too bad this was not continued. The film also has the necessary strong scenes such as the robberies, escapes, prison, etc ...

On to part 2.

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original

avatar van Lovelyboy


  • 3100 messages
  • 2274 votes

The first time, quite a few years ago, could not appeal and unfortunately not the second time.

What is striking is the grim atmosphere, brutal action, firm approach in prison and especially the beautifully presented breakout. The decent crowd of beautiful women is excellent, just like the style, editing and quite nicely executed picture in picture.

Where the film gets especially wet is the narration. It seems as if people just want to tell too much in the limited time they have, just under two hours. From the military service in Algeria to his first criminal steps, and from his first wife with child to his own escalation in behavior and choice for a woman is just as wrong as he is himself. The style can therefore also be called fragmentary and jumps into it quite a bit, with a range of characters who appear as quickly as they disappear again. It can be said that they don't want to skip anything, yet this seems to result in a kind of overkill at the expense of depth and impact.

Nice for once but that's it quickly and despite the above mentioned minuses and pluses.

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original