Droopy-eyed Frenchman Vincent Cassel, known most recently Stateside for his role as the sleazy director in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, cemented his place as one of France’s top actors in 2008 with the two-part biopic of French criminal Jacques Mesrine, comprised of Killer Instinct and the follow-up, Mesrine: Public Enemy #1. From his origins as a petty Parisian thug, Mesrine rose to fame as a man whose wanton disregard for the law led to numerous daylight bank robberies and daring escapes from prison. Killer Instinct focused on Mesrine’s early criminal antics, while Public Enemy #1 picks up with him aiding the Quebecois revolution in Montreal. Both films are not for the squeamish, with their highly stylized violence and lots of blood splatter, but Cassel’s performances in both are worth watching.

Mesrine: Public Enemy #1
Friday, Jan. 21 through Sunday, Jan. 23
Detroit Film Theatre
5200 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, Mich.
(313) 833-7900