Murder is a dirty business and greed is a ghastly beast, a lesson that Sebastien is soon to learn. Sebastien comes from an impoverished family and seems bold and scrappy from outward appearance, but is naive to the evil that exists in the world around him. This 22-year-old takes odd jobs to make ends meet and happens to assume a dead man’s identity under bizarre circumstances with an enticing chance to win a large sum of money. Little does Sebastien know what he will have to do for this coveted prize.
13 Tzameti is a modern, black-and-white crime thriller that immediately seized instant classic status upon its release. Though it was released in 2005, it has a retro feel similar to Darren Aronofsky’s Pi (1998). Beside the fact that it is filmed in black-and-white, it has a minimalist approach to filmmaking that relies on tension building and psychological pressure rather than special effects to get its point across.
Be patient because this film does start out a bit slow, especially not knowing what Sebastien is getting himself into. Give it time because it gets gory, gruesome, and nasty. Sebastien end up embroiled in a lethal game of Russian roulette where a group of rich men bet on the players. Thirteen men, each with a gun, and one bullet in the chamber. Time for round one… until there is one man left standing. When the lightbulb turns on in the center of the room, the players are instructed to shoot the person in front of them, with a one in five chance of dying in a moment’s notice. Watching the sweat dripping from the players’ foreheads, their hands trembling, and breathing labored, creates an atmosphere of tension that is unsurmountable.
Composed of a cast of mostly all unknown actors, director Gela Babluani has produced a tour de force thriller with calculated and deliberate horror. Main actor, George Babluani as Sebastien, carries this film and brings it to life. Similar to Michael Haneke with Funny Games (1997 & 2007), Gela Babluani made an American remake of his own film entitled 13. It never got the same praise as the original, but I haven’t seen the remake so I can’t compare the two.
Will Sebastien, number 13, prove to be lucky or unlucky? Watch this nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat thriller to find out for yourself.
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