Gritty crime thriller Mesrine: Killer Instinct finally gets U.S. release plus new poster and photos

I posted clips for Mesrine a year ago and wondered when, or if, the 2-part crime epic would ever get a U.S. release of any kind. Well it looks like Music Box Films won out, and will release the gritty crime thriller Mesrine – which is actually two movies; Mesrine: Killer Instinct and Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One – in select theaters beginning in August, with “Killer Instinct” releasing on August 13, 2010.

Winner of three Césars (French Academy Awards) for Best Actor, Best Director and Best Sound, Mesrine was co-written and directed by Jean-François Richet (Assault on Precinct 13), from a screenplay by Abdel Raouf Dafri (A Prophet) adapted from Jacques Mesrine’s autobiography L’Instinct de mort (Death Instinct). The films star Vincent Cassel, Cécile de France, Gérard Depardieu, Roy Dupuis, Ludivine Sagnier, Mathieu Amalric, Elena Anaya and Olivier Gourmet.

Mesrine: Killer Instinct charts the outlaw odyssey of Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassel), the legendary French gangster of the 1960s and 1970s, who came to be known as French Public Enemy No. 1 and The Man of a Thousand Faces. Infamous for his bravado and outrageously daring prison escapes, Mesrine carried out numerous robberies, kidnappings and murders in a criminal career that spanned continents until he was shot dead in 1979 by France’s notorious anti-gang unit. Thirty years after his death, his infamy lives on.

Mesrine was helped along the way by beautiful and equally reckless Jeanne Schneider (Cécile de France from High Tension), a Bonnie to match his Clyde. Mesrine made up his own epic, between romanticism and cruelty, flamboyance and tragedy. Both a thriller and a biopic, “Killer Instinct” explores the man behind the icon.

Maverick French star Vincent Cassel’s performances include the upcoming Darren Aronofsky film Black Swan and Romain Gavras’ Notre jour viendra (Redheads). He previously appeared in Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen, as well as David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises (as the blood-thirsty Kerill, the son of Russian mobster Semyon). His other credits include Mathieu Kassovitz’ La Haine and Crimson Rivers, Christopher Gans’ Brotherhood of the Wolves and Gaspar Noé’s Irreversible.

Cassel is currently in production on Dominik Moll’s The Monk and will soon begin production on David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method.

Check out the new U.S. one sheet and stills below.