MONTREAL IN THE MOVIES 1: MESRINE

Posted on August 13th, 2010 by .

Montreal-set Mesrine: Killer Instinct the latest major motion picture to showcase the city’s atmospheric neo-Noir setting… After a long 2-year wait since its release in France, Mesrine: Killer Instinct, the first part of Jean-Francois Richet’s diptych about 1970s French bank-robber/folk hero/international playboy Jacques Mesrine, opens in select North-American cities. A-list French actor Vincent Cassel (he played opposite Viggo Mortensen in David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises, and in Stephen Soderbergh’s Oceans 12 and Oceans 13) gained twenty pounds and several configurations of appealing retro facial hair to slip into the skin of Mesrine. 

But to my mind, the most appealing thing about the sexy, technicolour period extravaganza that is Mesrine: Killer instinct were the parts when Mesrine packs up his moll (Ludivine Sagnier, from Swimming Pool) and transplants to mid-1960s Montreal. Mesrine lands in Montreal in 1968, when the city was becoming prominent on the international jet-set all sexed up from Expo ’67 and the skyline is studded with architectural marvels like Moshe Safdie’s Habitat 67 and all the beautiful Expo buildings in Parc Jean-Drapeau, that are shown off in the movie’s establishing shot for the Montreal years, which is a sweeping helicpoter pan of the whole skyline from the south over the St-Lawrence river.


Mesrine meets a co-conspirator in the form of Jean-Paul Mercier, played by Quebec’s most famous actor, Roy Dupuis. But all this got me thinking about how so many sexy noir period flicks have been filmed here. Despite the countless movies that are filmed in Montreal with the Old Port doubling as Paris, Rome, New York and even Tangiers, as many come to mind that were filmed here with our beautiful city in a starring role… The Score, Frank Oz’s atmospheric character study/heist flick starring Robert De Niro, Edward Norton and Marlon Brando in one of his final roles.

Mesrine opens in select North-American cities this week-end

Guest Blogger: Melora Koepke

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