13 (Tzameti) - Review
Review by Jack Foley
WHEN struggling roofer Sebastian (George Babluani) overhears his morphine addicted employer, Godon (Philippe Passon), talk about a job that will earn him a lot of money if he survives, the stage is set for one of the most absorbing debut thrillers of recent times.
13 (Tzameti) marks the directorial debut of Géla Babluani and is a bold and startling film in many ways.
The job in question is extremely sinister and its deadly consequences are only discovered by Sebastian once Godon dies of an overdose and he, by chance, gets to attend in his place.
Once in, however, there is no getting away and Sebastian finds himself in a life and death struggle in which there can be only one winner.
To reveal too much more would be doing a disserve to Babluani’s film, suffice it to say that 13 is an extremely tense affair that offers no easy let-offs or Hollywood endings.
The job (or game) in question is fairly simple but expertly played, enabling several of the participants to grow as characters and Babluani the chance to explore their motivations.
It makes for absorbing, tense viewing that is nicely performed by its unknown cast.
Babluani, though, is the film’s biggest revelation, proving himself to be a promising new talent behind the camera who is not afraid to take risks.
His film is shot in black and white, which merely adds to the sense of foreboding, particularly as the sweaty tension of the game itself is made all the more stark against the pale T-shirts the participants are forced to wear.
His conclusion, too, is typically bold and offers another excellent little twist in the tale.
So while the film itself may be called 13, the unlucky ones will be those who don’t venture out to see it!
(In French/Georgian with subtitles)
Running time: 86 minutes