The Night of 12

France, Belgium: 2022
Original title : –
Directed by: Dominik Moll
Screenplay: Dominik Moll, Gilles Marchand
Actors: Bastien Bouillon, Bouli Lanners, Anouk Grinberg
Publisher: Blaq Out
Duration: 1h55
Genre: Policeman
Cinema release date: July 13, 2022
DVD/BR release date: November 23, 2022

At the PJ, each investigator comes across a crime that he can’t solve and that haunts him one day or another. For Yohan, it’s Clara’s murder. The interrogations follow one another, the suspects are not lacking, and Yohan’s doubts continue to grow. Only one thing is certain, the crime took place the night of the 12th…

The film


Not very prolific filmmaker, author of only seven feature films in the space of thirty years, Dominik Moll was discovered by the general public in 2000 with Harry, a friend who wishes you well. A little over twenty years later, he is once again playing the suspense card with The Night of 12, a detective film revolving around an unsolved murder. The opening panel of the film also reminds the viewer that the dramatic story surrounding the death of 21-year-old Carla, who was burned to death as she returned from a party on the night of October 12, 2016, is not not an isolated case: unfortunately, 20% of crimes committed in France are never solved.

At the heart of The Night of 12, there are therefore two cops: Yohan (Bastien Bouillon), who has just been appointed superintendent, and Marceau (Bouli Lanners), a more seasoned policeman, undermined by marital problems which are beginning to make him seriously doubt his his calling. Paradoxically close despite diametrically opposed characters, the two cops find themselves in their obsessive character, and in the impossibility for them to let the murder of the young Carla go unpunished. Their feeling of helplessness will only grow over the twists and turns of the investigation…

The Night of 12 is adapted from part of the book “18.3 – a year at the PJ” by Pauline Guéna (Éditions Denoël, 2020), which recounted the author’s immersion experience at the PJ of Versailles. Consequently, Dominik Moll and his co-screenwriter Gilles Marchand opt for a realistic, and even quasi-documentary, approach to the mechanisms of the investigation. However, in a rather paradoxical way, the suspense works at full speed throughout the film, the viewer vibrating in unison with these cop characters, so human, so close to us in their flaws, their weaknesses, their dismay.

In its own way, The Night of 12 draws up an inventory of today’s police, which is also accompanied by a bitter acknowledgment of failure in terms of the results obtained by a few handfuls of men and women who do their best, but who only men remain. The feeling of guilt and helplessness experienced by the latter classifies the film in the tradition of great detective films offering us unresolved investigations, such as Memories of murder (Bong Joon-ho, 2003) or Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007).

In front of the camera, Bouli Lanners is as usual absolutely extraordinary with suppressed anger, always on the verge of implosion. At his side, Bastien Bouillon will be reminiscent, in his very “interior” game, of Laurent Lucas of Harry, a friend who wishes you well. We will also note the presence on screen of Pierre Lottin, in a role radically different from the one he held in The Tuchesand, above all, of Anouk Grinberg, overwhelming as a prosecutor eager to complete the investigation, against all odds.

The Blu-ray


French publisher whose High-Definition releases ultimately remain quite rare (and therefore valuable), Blaq Out invites us today to discover The Night of 12 on Blu-ray media. As usual, the publisher offers us a rather sublime master: sharpness, contrasts, colors, depth of field… Everything is on point, and admirably managed; the level of detail is high, and despite the many night scenes, the blacks never fade, dense and deep. In two words as in a hundred, everything is perfect, it’s very good technical work. Sound level, the editor also proves to be faithful to his habits, offering us a solid mix DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, which certainly does not play the card of a dynamism in nag mode of death which kills, but which does the job from the point of view of the atmosphere. The rear channels and the subwoofer are used very regularly, and everything is particularly frequent.

In the bonus section, we will find a interview with Dominik Moll (24 minutes), which will return to the genesis of the project, to Pauline Guéna’s book as well as her influences or her long-standing collaboration with Gilles Marchand and the way in which they share the writing work.

Blu-ray Review: The Night of 12 – Film Review