Directed by Dominik Moll, The Night of the 12th is a French crime film that stars Bastien Bouillon and Bouli Lanners.
Captain Vivés (Bastien Bouillon) is the newly appointed leader of the Grenoble Criminal Squad when a murder case comes his way about a young girl who was burned alive on the night of the 12th while on her way home. Captain Vivés and his team begin to investigate this young girl’s murder by obtaining evidence and speaking with the victim’s family, friends, and acquaintances. But with any potential leads or useful evidence coming their way there is a possibility that this could be another murder that remains unsolved.
For a crime film, The Night of the 12th was surprisingly driven by dialogue from the criminal squad. It would show them having an in-depth conversations about the evidence that they have or even what it would take for a person to set another person on fire, and they would maybe even throw in the occasional joke when the conversation gets a little too morbid to lighten the mood. There are even a few interesting conversations between members of the squad where they compare the different types of attacks that happen against women and men and that can be thought provoking if you haven’t really taken the time out to really think of the difference.
I found it interesting and unique compared to the types of crime films that are more action based, so it was nice to watch a crime film that relies more on dialogue to tell its story and also helps to make the film feel more realistic, a nice change from the standard way that these types of film are made.
As far as acting performances go, Bastien Bouillon as Captain Vivés carries this film. While ambitious and seemingly a good captain, he can show moment of weakness such as being unable to notify the victim’s parents that their daughter has been murdered. He also shows compassion by offering his fellow squad member to stay at his place while he is going through splitting up with his wife. I enjoyed the different sides of his character which I believe was brought to life by his performance. Some of the other characters didn’t have as strong story arcs as his and would often become background characters or in some cases, they would be forgotten about all together until they were needed again. I found this a shame because some of the other squad members had their own stories happening at the same time that I wanted to know about.
I was really enjoying this film until the closing credits started. For the film’s entire duration, I was following all the possible clues and leads that the criminal squad had but then the film had a very unsatisfactory ending that made me feel conflicted as I had been enthralled in the films story, and if I am being honest, the ending is probably the most realistic conclusion that this film could have, yet I still felt disappointed. But with all that in mind, the finale it is only a minor niggle in an otherwise enjoyable film.
Even with its underwhelming, if you are a fan of crime and mystery films then The Night of the 12th that will still be an enjoyable experience that will keep you guessing and entertained all the way through.