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Film / Mesrine

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Mesrine is a French biopic/crime film diptych directed by Jean-François Richet. Its two parts are titled L'instinct de Mort (Killer Instinct) and L'Ennemi public numéro 1 (Public enemy Number 1). Both parts were released one month apart in late 2008.

It chronicles the life of French criminal Jacques Mesrine (played by Vincent Cassel), from his days as a crime syndicate underling to the robberies, kidnappings and murders he committed, which made national headlines in the 1970s.


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This film diptych provides examples of:

  • The Alcatraz: The Saint-Vincent-de-Paul high security prison in Québec, Canada, where Mesrine is put and tortured after his kidnapping scheme failed. He and his new friend Roger manages to break out, but then plan to go back to break more people out. That plan fails and Roger gets killed.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Mesrine goes from being a lowly man who became a pawn of the criminal underworld to one of the most infamous French criminals of the 20th century.
  • Outlaw Couple: Mesrine goes on a crime spree with his mistress Jeanne Schneider (played by Cécile de France) for a while.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: The poster of Killer Instinct has Mesrine pointing his gun at the viewer.
  • Villain Protagonist: Par for the course, being a biopic about an infamous criminal.
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