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Big Screen | "Mesrine" Finally Hits U.S. Theaters

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire August 25, 2010 at 3:17AM

Two years after premiering at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival, the first of a two-part film, "Mesrine: Killer Instinct," is hitting U.S. theaters via Music Box Films. It's directed by Jean-François Richet and written by Abdel Raouf Dafri and Richet. The first part's script was based on the autobiographical book "L'instinct de mort," by French gangster Jacques Mesrine. The second part, "Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1," is being released a week later and details Mesrine's criminal career after his escape from a Quebecois prison, and his subsequent (and brutal) end.
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Two years after premiering at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival, the first of a two-part film, "Mesrine: Killer Instinct," is hitting U.S. theaters via Music Box Films. It's directed by Jean-François Richet and written by Abdel Raouf Dafri and Richet. The first part's script was based on the autobiographical book "L'instinct de mort," by French gangster Jacques Mesrine. The second part, "Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1," is being released a week later and details Mesrine's criminal career after his escape from a Quebecois prison, and his subsequent (and brutal) end.

Critics have generally been quite kind to the first part of "Mesrine," which has already grossed $30 million overseas and won three Cesar Awards, including best director and best actor (for Vincent Cassel, who plays Mesrine).

"Part One, at least, is a French 'Bonnie and Clyde,'" wrote The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt in his review. He continues to call it "a terrific gangster with broad-stroke characterizations, reckless action and nerve jangling music."

Empire's Kim Newman seems to agree, calling the film "instantly gripping, with a powerhouse star performance. It’ll make you want to speed through the weeks to get to part two."

Slightly less kind is The Globe and Mail's Jennie Punter who says that "while 'Mesrine: Killer Instinct' certainly deserves a place among memorable French gangster films, Richet never delivers a clear theme here, let alone a plot."

The New Yorker's Anthony Lane is similarly unsold overall, but singles out Cassel's performance noting:

"Mesrine was no more a movie star than John Dillinger was," he writes, "but both men could dream, and Cassel catches the folly of such dreaming, with its blasts of thuggery and its rare flashes of style, as neatly as anyone since Warren Oates took the title role of “Dillinger,” in 1973."

Check out links to some of "Mesrine"'s reviews on its film pages as well as links to other films opening this weekend, plus recent theatrical releases, below. They include synopses, trailers, and a variety of grades and links to reviews.

iW Film Calendar & criticWIRE:
criticWIRE | Opening this week | Opening this month | All Films A - Z

criticWIRE: Films Opening This Week

Daniel y Ana (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

Mesrine: Killer Instinct (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

The Milk of Sorrow (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Centurion (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C-


criticWIRE: Films Currently In Theaters

The Tillman Story (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

The Wildest Dream (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

Peepli Live (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

Animal Kingdom (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Countdown To Zero (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

The Dry Land (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

The Disappearance of Alice Creed (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

A Film Unfinished (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Soul Kitchen (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

Lebanon (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

Cairo Time (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

Life During Wartime (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

Get Low (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

The Girl Who Played With Fire (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

Spoken Word (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C+

Mao's Last Dancer (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C+

The Extra Man (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C+

The Concert (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C

Twelve (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: D+

This article is related to: In Theaters







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