Directed by: Géla Babluani
Written by: Géla Babluani, Greg Pruss
Starring: Alice Barrett, Curtis Jackson, Gaby Hoffmann, Jason Statham, Michael Berry Jr., Mickey Rourke, Ray Winstone, Sam Riley
Vince finds himself in a beautiful manor house surrounded by the wealthy and learns of their love of gambling. The only problem is the rich are bidding on the lives of men with a deadly game of Russian Roulette and Vince has unknowingly put himself forward as a participant.
Sam Riley joins an all-star cast in this well-shot, gripping thriller from director, Géla Babluani. 13 is a flashy remake of his French black and white film, 13 Tzameti, and though I’ve never seen the original, it sounds as though 13 follows the exact same plotline.
The cast are superb and really hold this taut, tense thriller together, with a variety of characters in play, such as the jailbird Jefferson (a likable rogue, Mickey Rourke), who after being captured and locked away in Mexico is brought to the manor to win some important people a large sum of cash, but it seems he has a secret wealth of his own. Jason Statham plays Jasper, one the gamblers, and callously uses his ill brother Ronald (a marvellous Ray Winstone) as a partipant in the deadly game. Having played the game before, Ronald knows exactly what to expect and taunts other players, but is clearly unhappy that his younger brother treats him as a pawn in order to make himself even richer.
The manor location is perfect to play host to this cruel game and serves as a contrast of status between the partipants and the gamblers. The partipants, other than Vince and Jefferson and to a point, Ronald, all know what they’re getting themselves into and are doing it purely out of the need for vast amounts of cash quickly. The gamblers are just looking for a way to pass the time, a hobby, if you will. Their greed has led them to this sick act of pitting these helpless men against one another and almost-certain death. This element of the film reminded me of the rich pleasure-seekers in Hostel, who are looking for the ultimate thrill in the act of killing a human being. 13 isn’t so different, though the gamblers aren’t really getting any direct pleasure from the deaths of the partipants. They are enjoying the fact that their chosen one has survived and earnt them a lot of money, whilst others have deceased, therefore strengthening their odds of taking home a pretty packet.
WIth a strong cast of varied characters and an intense storyline, 13 is one of those films that will have you gripped to the very last shot.