13 Tzameti (2005)
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Critic Reviews for 13 Tzameti
Easier to admire than it is to sit through, the French film 13 (Tzameti) is an exercise in stylish depravity that may one day be viewed as the debut of a great filmmaker.
A tightly screwed shocker, a suspense tour de force that proceeds through a harrowing chain of events with alarming confidence.
It may be smarter than Saw II or Saw III, but it's just selling a classier brand of sadistic voyeurism.
The Georgian-born French director Gela Babluani makes an absorbing debut with this black-and-white thriller.
Gela Babluani, according to the film's sparse press kit, is only 26 years old but already knows more about suspense than some filmmakers learn in a career.
Audience Reviews for 13 Tzameti
A day labourer whose employer dies of an overdose takes his place at a clandestine meeting hoping for work, but instead finds himself a forced participant for a deadly underground gambling ring. 13 is the low budget debut from Franco-Georgian auteur Gela Babluani and has a kind of brutal intensity that has inspired comparisons with Fight Club because of its premise involving ordinary men engaged in a secret, violent organisation. This film, although displaying a kind of brutal and gut-wrenching intensity during the incredibly tense "game" sequences, it fails to explore the kind of knowing wit and social satire of David Fincher's film. The concept of the impoverished and disenfranchised being forced to participate in a game which could result in their deaths while the rich gamble only money they can afford to lose could have made a really nice analogy for the current financial climate, but the script instead settles for taking the safe route of a generic thriller making for a rather unsatisfying ending. A shame because there's a lot of potential in the idea as political allegory but it's worth seeing for the disturbing duel sequences alone.
Although not graphically violent in terms of blood and gore, this film reminded me of a more serious version of 'Hostel' and perhaps a little of Johnny Depps 'The Brave'. The black and white filming suited the darkness of the piece. It does take a little warming up and reach the main storyline, but once the main body of the story emerges, it transports the relentless fear and adrenalin that the lead character experiences in a realistic fashion. The lack of dialogue at times heightens the suspense and fear. An intriguing watch, unlike any kind of gambling film you've ever seen.
A wonderful idea is not capitalised on, resulting in an interesting but often lazy film. All the talent and necessary ingredients are here for a classic but it's the film's lack of depth that harms it. The main character is never explored. Sure he wants money, but his actions in pursuing the unknown are unexplained. Later he just seems to take part, before trying to escape, which leads nowhere. The other characters are left shady and for good reason, it throws us into the underground world. Unfortunately it just doesn't make the film anymore interesting. Too short with absolutely no tension does not bode well for a thriller. Perhaps a Hollywood remake could, dare I say it, improve what was a different and enjoyable film.