Mesrine: Killer Instinct (L’instinct de mort, France-Canada-Italy, 2008)

No bars hold

No bars hold

I’m not a fan of biopics, the narrative necessarily skips through highlights making the film like some ‘greatest hits’ compilation. If you don’t know the life, then the film can be even worse. However, when your life is scumbag Jacques Mesrine, encompassing the Algerian war against France and Quebec separatists, then the subject’s worth doing. Vincent Cassal, of course, is excellent as Mesrine and although he is a figure of admiration, the film doesn’t let us forget what a bastard he was.

The film includes a fabulous set-piece prison break, well two really, and a terrific car chase; not thud and blunder but surreal, something out of The Sugarland Express (US, 1974), Spielberg’s first cinema outing. I’m looking forward to part two.

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