Vjeran Tomic: The Spider-Man of Paris (2023)

Vjeran Tomic: The Spider-Man of Paris (2023)

A detail-oriented true-crime doc that chooses the least interesting angles for its story

4.8

Movie

French, German, Hungarian
Crime, Documentary
2023
JAMIE ROBERTS
Vjeran Tomic
86 min

TLDR

Why do I suddenly have the urge to inspect all the windows in my house for potential break-in points?

What it's about

The man who successfully stole five paintings from the Paris Museum of Modern Art in 2010 explains how he did it and the aftermath of the heist.

The take

The idea of a true-crime documentary being narrated mostly by the very person who did it should be appealing to fans of the genre, especially those who would rather stay away from non-violent crimes. And Vjeran Tomic is a compelling thief, with his own perspective on the people he tends to steal from and the kind of life he thinks he's owed. But by fixating so intensely on the method to the crime, it eventually loses its appeal—eventually becoming clear that there are so many potentially interesting (and more emotional) perspectives to the story that are being left out. Tomic may be a somewhat morally ambiguous criminal, but his testimonials alone, which are accompanied by mostly corny reenactments, can't carry an entire movie that teases but never fully delves into shady dealings in the world of the fine arts.

What stands out

True-crime shouldn't be expected to provide any sort of moral lesson every time, but it's still frustrating that Vjeran Tomic doesn't really seem to be about anything deeper. Still, it's admittedly kind of clever (and more than a little funny) that Tomic himself seems to act as a security consultant in this film; by pointing out the ease with which he was able to pull off this burglary, he exposes a (formerly) lax attitude towards security taken for granted by these prestigious institutions. The advice he inadvertently provides to all of us is probably outdated at this point, though, but it still probably wouldn't hurt to invest in some barbed wire.

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