The Night of the 12th15
This film opens with a disturbing fact: 800 murders a year go unsolved in France. Now there are various reasons that could be attributed to this, such as the sheer lack of man power to solve the crimes, as well as just the possible general ineptitude of the French police as a whole. What seems to be irrefutable however is that there are a significant number of people literally getting away with murder.
German director Dominik Moll’s film then goes on to focus on just one case, the murder of a young woman, Clara Royer.
October 12th, 2016 in the Alpine city of Grenoble, Clara Royer (Lula Cotton-Frapier) has just left her friends’ house in the middle of the night, and is making her way home. Tragically, she doesn’t make it, with her body discovered hours later on the route home.
Just taking over the homicide department in the local police station is Captain Yohan Vivès (Bastien Bouillon). And one of his first duties is to inform the parents. It’s a job that never gets easy.
He and his team then have to focus on the job at hand, tracking down her killer. But with no obvious killer from the line-up of suspects they have, it’s going to be a murder that isn’t easily solved.
Although not an actual cold case, Moll’s film is based on actual events that have sadly taken place. But his film isn’t primarily about the murder, it goes deeper than that.
It’s a film that looks at the detectives in the thick of it, and how they cope in the day to day of an investigation. Its lead detective starts off bright and optimistic, but the further he finds himself drowning in the case around him, the more world weary he becomes. And it’s no surprise to see that the job takes its toll on a number of his team as far as their mental health is concerned.
Moll still manages to instil a standard template for the genre, in providing a number of suspects to be interrogated mainly for our own curiosity, but is often the case, as you’re presented with them one after the other, you’re left feeling that all of them could have done it.
It may not be the dark and gritty police crime thriller, that results in long chase sequences and some graphic violent scenes, but it does highlight the heavy burden that comes from being given the hefty responsibility of solving serious crimes.