The world is a big, unruly, ambiguous place. Which helps explain the boundless appeal of murder mysteries. Whether it’s Hercule Poirot exercising his famous little grey brain cells or all those CSI teams extracting DNA samples, mysteries offer the reassurance of seeing the messy realities of life get sorted out. When the murderer is caught, we feel that order is, at least temporarily, restored.
Of course, in reality, things don’t always work out so happily. The reverberations of this fact rumble through The Night of the 12th, a skillfully turned French crime picture that swept the César awards, the French version of the Oscars.
Made by veteran director Dominik Moll, the movie is adapted from the work of Pauline Guéna who spent a year following members of the Paris police. Focusing on a single, real-life murder investigation she covers, Moll has created a film that keeps looking like the conventional police procedural that it actually isn’t.