Directed by Dominik Moll, ‘The Night of the 12th’ (Original title: La Nuit du 12) is an investigative thriller. It tells a fictitious version of a true story about a brutal murder incident in France. The screenplay, which Gilles Marchand and the director co-wrote, details the inquiry that took place.

Starring Bastien Bouillon, Bouli Lanners, Anouk Grinberg, Mouna Soualem, Pauline Serieys, and Lula Cotton Frapier in the central roles, it presents a stimulating discourse that elevates its whodunit narrative. The element that sets it apart is its penetrating exploration of gender dynamics in the country.

The film premiered at the 75th Cannes film festival and was later screened at the Busan film festival with wide critical acclaim.

The Night of the 12th (2022) Movie Synopsis & Plot Summary

A large number of missing person cases keep popping up in France, most of which have gone unsolved. “La Nuit du 12” tells one of these cases. It follows Yohan (Bastien Bouillon), a young police officer who attends the retirement party of one of his seniors, who is being bid farewell with love and respect. Note that there are no women present during that celebration. Meanwhile, Clara Royer (Lula Cotton-Frapier), a teenager on her way out from her friend’s place, walks through a relatively dark street where she suddenly gets burnt to death by a masked man. Within a few moments, most of her body gets burned.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

Yohan is assigned to this case and is accompanied by Marceau (Bouli Lanners). They find Clara’s body in a nearby park (which is where she headed running). During their visit, she receives a call on her phone from her friend – Nanie (Pauline Serieys). Yohan informs her about Clara’s death and asks her for additional details about Clara. Soon after, he informs her mother about it, who screams in anguish and shock. According to her mother, he then questions Nanie, with whom Clara was supposed to be. However, the friend is unsure about where Clara is going besides what she was told.

While breaking this news to her, Yohan freezes for a moment after seeing Clara’s photo with a cat. Hearing that, Marceau advises him that he should not get emotionally involved in any case and do the work as per the requirements. Men back at the police office chat about the abnormality of this act and try to decipher what burning an individual denotes across the world. One of the officers – Loïc (Thibaut Evrard), later tells Yohan that gendarmes can handle the case. However, he is steadfast in his determination to exert their own efforts.

Later that night, Marceau opens up to Yohan about his divorce after his wife gets pregnant by another man. Despite numerous attempts to have kids of their own, the failure led her to this man. Marceau narrates all these details with awkwardness and a bit of shame attached to his feeling of sexual inadequacy. The next day, Yohan meets Wesley (Baptiste Perais), whom they learn to be sexually involved with Clara before the incident. He disparages her, saying that she kept pursuing him even when he was not interested in her. The officers look for jealousy as a probable motive since he is already in a relationship with another girl. They get no substantial evidence.

Then they try tracing down all the places Clara went to the day before the incident and decide to question Jules Leroy (Jules Porier) from a climbing gym. He reveals that she had multiple sexual partners beside him and childishly laughs at the tragedy of her death. With this new revelation, they question Nannie again to share the names of Clara’s other partners. One of them, Gabi (Nathy Boss), shows up at the police station alone. Before the incident, he had written a rap about burning Clara to death. He notes that she was ignorant of his financial difficulties, which made him furious.

He comes to offer this information in order to avoid being implicated by the police. While they keep him in custody for the time being, Yohan takes Marceau back to his place after knowing that he was sleeping in the office due to his divorce. Later, at the station, he receives a lighter delivered inside an envelope with a note telling him to meet him at the spot of the crime. When Yohan and Marceau show up, they meet Dennis, who tells them that he found it buried nearby. He takes them to his shabby place and prides himself as one of Clara’s exes.

So, Yohan questions Nannie yet again since she did not mention Dennis as one of Clara’s partners. She mentions that Dennis is lying about their relationship. Eventually, she breaks down crying and suspects that the police consider Clara to be the reason for her death. She defends her late friend, who she thinks is being unfairly seen only in a bad light. Clara’s father soon informs, finding a bloodied cloth near her grave, which leads the officers to Vincent Caron (Pierre Lottin). Upon seeing them, he manically smiles at the prospect of Clara’s death.

The Night of the 12th (2022) Movie: Ending, Explained & Theme Analyzed
They look through this apartment and find a liquid that could possibly burn a person to death. His partner justifies its presence as a cleaning material. Later at the station, he shows no remorse or even an iota of sadness. His partner mentions being okay with the arrangement where he gets to sleep with other partners to fulfill his sexual urges that she can’t. She also provides a strong alibi for him on the night of the 12th, eliminating him being the culprit.

Later, Yohan finds other officers making fun of Clara’s indecency and finds it disgusting that they choose to laugh at this girl, who died tragically. Meanwhile, lack of satisfaction in his personal life leads Marceau to take a reckless step. He goes to Vincent’s place, deciding to confront him. Luckily, by the time he starts hurting Vincent (assuming that would lead him to confess), Yohan shows up and stops matters from going further.

About three years after the incident, the new investigative judge (played by Anouk Grinberg) asks Yohan to reopen the case. He mentions the difficulties they faced despite their hard work, which led them to no clear answer. Still, he mentions the topic in his office about bringing the case back on board. The male colleagues tease him asking if he is doing it out of his romantic interest in the judge. Only Nadia (Mouna Soualem) shares his drive to pursue it.

Later, the judge suggests Yohan add a hidden camera on her grave to monitor people who visit it. He keeps an eye on the situation there with Nadia, who observes that male cops are typically allocated to these cases. The men lack the motivation to pursue them, which is a significant factor why perpetrators are never caught. While looking through the footage the next day, they find a bearded man taking off his shirt and singing next to Clara’s grave. They find out the song he is singing. However, they don’t know what to do with this finding.

The Night of the 12th (2022) Movie Themes Analyzed:

The film speaks about the gender dynamic in the country with a nuanced approach. Through the casual conversations between male officers, we see the general topics being perceived more often from a sexist lens. When a young officer decides to marry his girlfriend after six months of the relationship, they mock him for being too early in getting into that bond. The sleaziness is not outrightly evident. But it seeps in through such behavior, through their dialogues, and so does an utter disregard for Clara.

The script brings the subject of morality into discussion and looks at it from varying lenses. A male officer chooses not to be passionate about finding the perpetrator by stating Clara’s indecency about having multiple sexual partners. He or most of the others do not mind even if there is no answer and can make peace with a girl like her getting killed. This sad state of affairs is brought to notice through subtle observations. Besides, when you look at the motives that lead the characters to certain actions, you start noticing more details.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

Instead of getting Clara her due justice, Marceau considers reaching a conclusion to the story and solving the case more important. His ongoing sexual insecurity and a history of professional failures are the primary drivers of this impulse. In contrast, the use of violence as a way of achieving justice is what drives the action. Finally, compared to her male peers, Nadia pursues it with rigor and the necessary sense of responsibility. Even through her dialogue with Yohan, the script hints at the inherent biases in men that leave many cases unsolved. While it can be considered mere speculation, the discourse is certainly stimulating to introspect on your own as a viewer.

The Night of the 12th (2022) Movie Ending, Explained:

Nadia diligently investigates the new finding, whereas the male officers continue to be more concerned with office comforts. She stumbles upon the bearded man’s online profile, whose name is Mats (David Murgia). The officers go to his place to bring him to the station. He starts running upon seeing them. That makes them even more suspicious of his guilt. However, after bringing him into custody, they realize that he was admitted to a mental institution during the night of the incident and was obsessed with Clara because of his delusional mind.

Yohan and Nadia become disheartened because, despite their best efforts, they cannot locate the perpetrator. They have a chat about the unsolved cases that stay with an officer throughout their careers, a lesson that he learned from Marceau. Because of how they both feel, he decides to write Marceau a letter in which he expresses his acceptance of the case’s inability to be resolved. But the prospect of people like Nadia leading the next generation of officers gives him hope. He perhaps interprets it as passing the baton to this responsible officer who genuinely cares about her job.

Read More: The 10 Best Suspense Thriller Movies of 2022


The Night of the 12th (2022) Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia
The Night of the 12th (2022) Cast: Bastien Bouillon, Bouli Lanners, Théo Cholbi
Where to watch The Night of the 12th

Similar Posts