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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > 13 (Tzameti)

MOVIE REVIEWS

13 (TZAMETI) (2006)

Starring Georges Babluani, Aurélien Recoing, Pascal Bongard, Fred Ulysse, Nicolas Pignon, Vania Vilers, Christophe Vandevelde, Olga Legrand, Augustin Legrand, Joé Prestia and Philippe Passon.

Screenplay by Gela Babluani.

Directed by Gela Babluani..

Distributed by Palm Pictures.  90 minutes.  Not Rated.

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13 (Tzameti)

This black and white (and mostly very, very black) French psychological thriller created a huge stir in Cannes and deservedly so.  13 (Tzameti) is written and directed by a young (26-years old) auteur who enters the filmmaking game with the assurance of a Hitchcock or a Kubrick.  He straddles a few styles before coming to a truly disturbing nearly-45-minute sequence which emphasizes the blind luck and unspeakable cruelty of life.

Part of the fascination of the movie is that, like its hero, we never know where exactly the story is going until it is way too late to do anything. 

Strangely, in the beginning, the film seems so much different than it will become.  It seems like a harsh treatise on economical despair -- and in it's own way it stays that course as the film becomes more and more horrifying. 

Georges Babluani plays Sebastien, a poor but loving family man who is working hard to help support his mother, brother and sister-in-law in a run down French beach community.  Amongst his many odd jobs is working to fix the roof of a quarrelling couple.  The man is a numbed drug addict.  The wife a beautiful but nagging harpy. 

While working around the house, Sebastien overhears enough to figure out that the man has taken on some mysterious job which is extremely prosperous and yet still seems to terrify the man.  When he dies of an overdose (we never really know if it is accidental or not) and the wife cannot pay for the work Sebastien has done, the worker decides to take an envelope which has a train ticket to Paris and a registration for a hotel room.

Sebastien takes the trip and the junkie's identity to perform the job himself, not quite realizing he has taken over another man's deal with the devil. 

Here the film becomes like one of Hitchcock's wrong man thrillers as police and a cadre of tough looking hoods start following the young man as he follows a long and convoluted trail across France to the mysterious employment.

Once he finally finds himself plunked down in the middle of the job he has found a hell of violence, death, decadence, gambling, amorality and drug abuse.  I won't reveal exactly what happens in that secluded country home -- that is half of the fun and all of the power of 13 (Tzameti).  Just know that it is a show of all that is worst in the idly rich and the merciless. 

This film will undoubtedly be remade in English, but I can't see Hollywood capturing the dank desperation and horror of this very original film.  Don't wait around for some young shark to defang the story for general audiences.  See this jaw-droppingly chilling film now.  (7/06)

Jay S. Jacobs

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Copyright ©2006   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: July 28, 2006

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