The Night of the 12th (La Nuit du 12)

The Night of the 12th

It is said that every investigator has a crime that haunts them, a case that hurts him more than the others, without him necessarily knowing why. For Yohan that case is the murder of Clara.

The Night of the 12th‘ is a French police procedural about an unsolved murder case that haunts the lead detective who investigated it. Set in the small city of Grenoble at the foot of the Alps, it begins with the brutal murder of a young woman and follows the detectives assigned to investigate the case as they follow leads and track a series of shifty male suspects. The detective team is led by Captain Yohan Vives (Bastien Bouillon), who has recently been promoted after his previous boss retired, with the embittered and angry Marceau (Bouli Lanners) the most prominent member of his team. It’s a police murder investigation movie very much in the vein of films such as David Fincher’s ‘Zodiac’ or Bong Joon-ho’s ‘Memories of Murder’, and I thought it was a gripping, well made and well-acted movie.

The film is not based directly on a true story, however screen text at the opening of the movie highlights France’s poor murders solved rate and that forms the backdrop to a story that explores the lingering effects of such a horrific crime on the people tasked with investigating it. The premise may be nothing particularly new, but like any good procedural, the key is in how its told and director Dominik Moll has crafted an atmospheric thriller with characters you can empathise with. I particularly liked Bouli Lanners as Marceau, the cop whose personal life is impacting on his work and who never feels too far away from really losing his temper. As Captain Vives, Bastien Bouillon is better at keeping his feelings under wraps but his simmering anger at the series of toxic men they talk to through the investigation is barely concealed. Masculinity is a key theme explored here and while many of those questioned had nothing to do with the murder, their arrogance and callous attitude towards women induces anger in both Vives and us as an audience.

The Night of the 12th‘is a high quality police procedural, with a compelling, gritty story and strong acting and direction, and it’s a movie that will provoke thought and linger in the memory long after the credits have rolled.

Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Dominik Moll

Starring: Bastien Bouillon, Bouli Lanners, Anouk Grinberg, Pauline Serieys, Mouna Soualem, Lula Cotton-Frapier, Théo Cholbi, Johann Dionnet, Thibault Evrard,Julien Frison, Paul Jeanson, Camille Rutherford and Pierre Lottin

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