Vincent Cassel is one of the most sought-after French actors in our country but also abroad. From its explosion on the French and international scene in Hate Passing by Mesrine, his best role, Vincent Cassel built a solid and eclectic career.
Between so-called ‘serious’ films and blockbusters, the Caesarized French actor proves that he can play anything. Including the bad roles. Decried (Irreversible) or adulated (Mesrine: The Death Instinct), Vincent Cassel’s films hold a special place in his already busy career. By alternating between European and American cinema, the actor proves that he is a luxury choice for directors from all corners of the world.
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His next project, Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Empire, recalls the path taken by his father, Jean-Pierre Cassel in 2008 in Asterix at the Olympic Games. In 2023, we will discover it in Athos in the ambitious project The three Musketeers. Discover 10 films by Vincent Cassel between Paris and Hollywood.
La Haine (1995)
Hate. Credit: Lazennec & Associés
Impossible not to quote Vincent Cassel’s filmography without citing Hate. In 1995, Vincent Cassel played VinZ in the Cult movie directed by Mathieu Kassovitz. The film with the three Césars which tells the adventures of a trio of Chanteloup-les-Vignes, in Yvelines, will quickly become a success in France by gathering two million spectators. But also abroad where Hate is regularly cited by cinephiles and lovers of contemporary French films.
In addition to the many reactions that Hate could arouse, Mathieu Kassovitz’s film remains relevant and transgenerational. A success that will propel Mathieu Kassovitz and the young Vincent Cassel to the front of the stage. A duo that works and that will be found five years later, in Kassovitz’s fourth film: The Crimson Rivers.
Elisabeth. Crédit Working Title Films
First test gallon abroad for Vincent Cassel. And not the least. It is on the other side of the Channel that Vincent Cassel will take his first steps in English. Or almost, since in Shekhar Kapur’s film, retracing the ascension to the throne of England from the queen Elisabeth Ire, the actor plays the Duke of Anjou. Thus, Vincent Cassel speaks in both languages, English and French. His role, quite crazy and explosive, is rather funny. The actor thus shows a brighter facet of his acting and also offers good moments in the film.
The Purple Rivers (2000)
The Crimson Rivers. Credit: Gaumont
The Crimson Rivers signs the new collaboration of the Kassovitz / Cassel duo. Vincent Cassel has made a name for himself since his noticed appearance in Hate, but not that, and is also a popular actor. If Vincent Cassel is talking about him and the couple he formed with actress Monica Bellucci at the time, the actor especially knows how to be noticed for his talents as an actor.
In this adaptation of the book by author Jean-Christophe Grangé, Vincent Cassel takes on a dark and dramatic role, that of a young lieutenant who is investigating a strange affair. A deep role, perfect for the actor. And a fruitful collaboration again. The Crimson Rivers, breathtaking thriller, will attract nearly three million curious in French cinemas. Other proof if necessary, in the film, Vincent Cassel shares the poster with none other than his father, Jean-Pierre Cassel, iconic actor of the 1960s.
The Pact of Wolves (2001)
The Pact of the Wolves. Credit: Metropolitan FilmExport
In 2001, Vincent Cassel, now a respected actor and well established in French cinema, played in the renowned The Wolf’s Pact by Christophe Gans. The film is a huge success in France with five million spectators in theaters. But also in the world. The Pact of the Wolves thus becomes one of the most popular French films abroad. A landmark film in which Vincent Cassel still excels.
It must be said that the subject of the film lends itself strongly to this. The latter is indeed freely inspired by the fascinating history of Beast of Gévaudan. Adventure, historical, thriller, horror film, The Pact of the Wolves is carried by a four star casting. Vincent Cassel is perfect there as a sadistic, disturbing and disturbing character. An excellent role for the actor who gives the answer to his companion of the time Monica Bellucci, in a mysterious role. Another cult film in the actor’s filmography.
Ocean’s Twelve (2004)
Ocean’s Twelve. Crédit : Warner Bros.
When Vincent Cassel arrives at Hollywood, the French actor hits hard. In Ocean’s Twelve, Monica Bellucci’s ex-husband gives the retort to hollywood stars what are George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts… in front of Steven Soderbergh’s camera. In the film, Vincent Cassel reserves a captivating scene for us where he demonstrates his talents in capoeira. It must be said that the actor is a great admirer of Brazil where he has lived since 2012 with his wife Tina Kunakey and their daughter. A nod from the actor for his adopted country, which he also regularly exhibits in photos on Instagram.
Facing the Hollywood stars, Vincent Cassel plays a mysterious French thief, sure of himself, who gives a hard time to the band of Danny Ocean. If this is not his best role, Vincent Cassel is perfect in a bit beta antagonist, funny and charismatic.
Mesrine: The Death Instinct (2008)
Mesrine: The Death Instinct. Credit: Pathé Distribution
In The death instinct, Vincent Cassel very probably embodies the most iconic role of his career and the most spectacular in French cinema. In front of Jean-François Richet’s camera, Vincent Cassel embodies public enemy number 1, Jacques Mesrine. Famous robber in the 1960s and 1970s, Jacques Mesrine is one of the greatest French criminals. Charismatic, whose crazy adventures contributed to his legend, Jacques Mesrine could not be better embodied than by Vincent Cassel.
To interpret this character outside the norm and fascinating by his escapades and his tormented way of life, Vincent Cassel has metamorphosed. Magistral in this complex role and rich in emotions, Vincent Cassel leaves no one behind and offers a spectacular performance. Thanks to the dialogues and the impeccable staging of Jean-François Richet, this first part will bring together 2.2 million spectators in France. Its sequel, Public Enemy n ° 1, will maintain this success, and the diptych will be crowned with three Césars, including that of best director for Jean-François Richet and best actor unanimously for Vincent Cassel.
Black Swan (2010)
Black Swan. Crédit : Fox Searchlight Pictures/ 20th Century Fox
Two years after the end of the successful diptych Mesrine, Vincent Cassel returned to the United States where he enjoyed a respectable and successful career. It’s in Darren Aronofsky’s psychological thriller, Black Swan, that we find Vincent Cassel. In front of Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel plays Thomas Leroy, ballet master and tyrannical choreographer. Yes Black Swan gives pride of place to the destabilizing performance of Natalie Portman (who will win the Oscar for best actress), Vincent Cassel is noticed by his oppressive and sadistic character. The actor once again proves the prolific career he leads between Paris and Hollywood.
Just the End of the World (2016)
Just the end of the world. Credit: Diaphana Films
In 2016, Vincent Cassel found himself in front of the camera of Quebec prodigy Xavier Dolan. In Just the end of the world, Vincent Cassel gives the answer to a nice range of actors: Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux, Gaspard Ulliel and Nathalie Baye. In this dramatic film taken from an eponymous play by Jean-Luc Lagarce, Vincent Cassel plays a wounded man, all in power, in the face of the tragedy caused by the return of his brother.
Xavier Dolan’s film received mixed reviews, while Cassel’s performance was hailed or criticized for its outrageousness. Despite the many divisions caused by the film, Just the end of the world leaves no one indifferent. While this is not the actor’s most notable role nor his most popular film, Just the end of the world managed to attract a million spectators in France.
Jason Bourne (2016)
Jason Bourne. Credit: Universal Pictures
After Ocean’s Twelve, it is in another successful franchise that Vincent Cassel is heading. In the saga Jason Bourne, Vincent Cassel finds Matt Damon. The French plays the Trump, a CIA killer. Jason Bourne marks the return of Vincent Cassel to the action genre and blockbuster cinema. While his ex-wife Monica Bellucci is illustrated in the saga James Bond: Spectre, Vincent Cassel opts for the American penchant for jerky fighting. Less successful than its predecessors, Jason Bourne Yet achieved a good score in France with a million faithful in the dark rooms. In the film, Vincent Cassel plays a character rather silent and obstinate by his crime to accomplish.
The Emperor of Paris (2018)
The Emperor of Paris. Credit: Gaumont Distribution
In The Emperor of Paris, Vincent Cassel finds the director Jean-François Richet after the diptych on Mesrine. An ambitious project that the actor and the director wish to dust off after the failure of the previous adaptation of 2001. In this historic French action film, Vincent Cassel takes on a new ‘iconic’ role after that of Jacques Mesrine: the former convict turned policeman, Eugene-Francois Vidocq. In the Paris of 1805, the film traces the genesis of the most famous policeman in France. Helped by neat sets and solid secondary characters, Vincent Cassel embodies with strength and humanity the one who will become the head of the “security brigade”.