Vjeran Tomic: The Spider-Man of Paris is a 2023 documentary film that premiered on Netflix on October 20. It is directed by Rémi Lainé and produced by Capa Presse. The film features interviews with Vjeran Tomic himself, as well as the police, the museum director, the art dealer, and some of his victims. The film chronicles Tomic’s life, his passion for climbing, his criminal career, and his involvement in the biggest art heist in French history.
The film begins with Tomic explaining how he planned and executed the robbery of the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris on May 19, 2010. He reveals that he was hired by an art dealer named Jean-Michel Corvez to steal a specific painting by Fernand Léger, but he decided to take four more paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Braque, and Modigliani, worth a total of €100 million. He describes how he used his skills as a climber to scale the walls of the museum, disable the alarm system, and enter through a window. He then shows how he carefully removed the paintings from their frames, rolled them up, and escaped with them in a backpack.
The film follows Tomic’s progression from petty crimes to more serious burglaries, as he targets wealthy apartments and mansions in Paris. He claims that he never used violence or weapons, but relied on his intelligence, agility, and charm. He also says that he was not motivated by money but by the thrill of the challenge and the beauty of the objects he stole. He confesses that he kept some of his loot in his own apartment, where he lived surrounded by paintings, sculptures, jewels, and antiques.
The film then returns to the aftermath of the museum robbery, which triggered a massive investigation by the police and the media. It shows how Tomic was eventually identified by DNA traces left on a piece of glass at the crime scene. It also reveals how Corvez and another accomplice named Yonathan Birn were arrested for their roles in the heist. The film exposes how Corvez tried to sell the paintings to various buyers in Europe and Asia but failed to find any takers. It also discloses how Birn claimed to have panicked and thrown away the paintings in a garbage bin, which was never recovered.
The film concludes with the trial of Tomic, Corvez, and Birn in 2017, where they were sentenced to prison terms ranging from six to eight years. It also shows how Tomic expressed no remorse for his actions, but rather pride and satisfaction. He says that he does not regret stealing the paintings, but only getting caught. He also says that he considers himself an artist, not a thief and that he hopes that the paintings are still somewhere in the world.
Vjeran Tomic: The Spider-Man of Paris is a fascinating and captivating documentary that offers a rare insight into the mind and motives of a master thief. The film succeeds in creating a complex and nuanced portrait of Tomic, who is neither glorified nor demonized, but rather presented as a human being with flaws and virtues. The film also raises interesting questions about art, value, ownership, and justice.
One of the strengths of the film is its use of Tomic’s own voice as the main narrator. His testimony is honest, candid, and charismatic. He does not shy away from admitting his crimes or explaining his methods. He also displays a genuine passion and appreciation for art, which makes him more sympathetic than a typical villain. His story is enhanced by re-enactments that illustrate his skills and daring feats.
Another strength of the film is its inclusion of different perspectives from other people involved or affected by the robbery. The film gives voice to the police who pursued him, the museum director who suffered from his actions, the art dealer who betrayed him, and some of his victims who lost their valuables. The film shows how the robbery had different impacts and consequences for each of them, and how they reacted and coped with the situation.
One of the weaknesses of the film is its lack of depth and detail on some aspects of Tomic’s life and personality. The film does not explore much of his psychological or emotional state, or what drove him to become a thief. The film also does not provide much information on his time in prison or his plans for the future.
Vjeran Tomic: The Spider-Man of Paris is a compelling and entertaining documentary that tells the story of one of the most audacious and spectacular art heists in history. The film is a must-watch for anyone interested in art, crime, or adventure.
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