This subtitled French-language drama tells a true-life story of a remarkable robbery; one where 11.6 million euros is stolen from an armoured car without blood or brutality. Even more remarkably, the robber then – seemingly – allows the police to find the majority of the money and turns himself in…
I say ‘seemingly’ because the film-makers have chosen to retain the mystery of these events rather than fill in the gaps with fictional ‘what if?’ supposition. So although we see the incidents leading up to the robbery in great detail, and observe the activities and relationships of Toni Musulin, we never get inside his head. The film centres on the many mysteries of the heist and Toni’s weirdly compartmentalised life: where did he get the money for a Ferrari before he did the robbery? Why did he take out several loans before committing the heist? What happened to the missing millions? Why did he turn himself in afterwards instead of completing a clean getaway?
The result is a fascinating film, featuring magnificent performances by the actors playing Toni and his friends and family. The frustration of his partner, who feels excluded by Toni’s increasingly self-absorbed activities and is convinced he’s having an affair, comes boiling off the screen with compelling conviction. Similarly, his relationships with his work colleagues are carefully crafted to demonstrate the compassionate aspects of his nature – which then makes his increasing isolation and single-minded scheming all the more enthralling.
Toni dominates the narrative and the screen; he’s always interesting even if we can’t quite figure out what he’s doing or what motivates his odder actions. The plot gives us hints and suggestions towards a credible explanation yet leaves the central themes unresolved. Toni is a puzzle, and if you can live with a little bit of uncertainty then the missing information just adds to the intrigue.
However, it’s probably a little misleading to call this a ‘thriller’. It’s certainly not action-adventure, and all the thrills are psychological. We found it compelling, but the lack of resolution might frustrate many.
11.6 provides an enjoyable 100 minutes of extremely polished film-making. If it had been made in the UK or by Hollywood then all the questions would have been answered in full. Only a Continental film – perhaps only a French one – would dare to leave so much hidden in the shadows…
It was a shame, however, that there were no special features on the DVD we saw. This is one film where we really wanted to hear what the director and script-writer had to say!
Reviewed by Rowena Hoseason
11.6 is available to buy or rent at Amazon