L'instinct de mort (2008)

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Director: Jean-François Richet
Cast: Vincent Cassel, Cécile De France, Gérard Depardieu


The career of arch-criminal Jacques Mesrine, from his brutalization during the Algerian War to his escape from a top-security penitentiary in Canada.

The Review

Sprinkled with various acts of brutality, and joined together after the manner of biopics without necessarily the first care for continuity, this fairly traditional gangster flick is driven by a central performance that drips with authenticity (let's face it, he's had plenty of experience in this kind of thing). One cannot help recall such antecedents as Scarface and Goodfellas - it is as if Mesrine had seen them himself, though of course he hadn't. Interesting characters such as Depardieu's Guido come and go, as do the women in his life, and attempts at a psychological portrait do not go very deep (resentment at a weakling father). A lazy script but impeccably made.