13 Sins is one of those movies that will get you five minutes in. Fuck it, I can’t write this review without little spoilers that will not fuck up your viewing experience, much. It’s based on a 2006 Thai horror-comedy 13 Game Sayawng that was based on a comic book My Mania by Eakasit Thairaat. This just goes to show you two things: Ong Bak is not the only great Thai movie and that remakes can actually. Speaking of remakes, if you want to continue your exploration of Thai cinema, check out Bangkok Dangerous from 2000 and then you can compare to the 2008 Hollywood remake starring Nicolas Cage. And while we’re on a subject of Asian cinema, I have to recommend a movie with a similar title but much more gory, Takashi Miikes’ samurai epic 13 Assassins.
The opening scene is so juicy and good, it’s like a declaration against the commercial and mild movies that we are being offered right now. And then it starts. The grip. The choke. The choke around your neck that loosens up only after the movie is over. They easily accomplished such sympathy with the main characters that it surprises me that we missed this director. In case you’re wondering Daniel Stamm directed The Last Exorcism that was good, but not this good. The lead is a bit wobbly at times but still tears the shit up of this great script. I mean the black humor is so good, especially combined with the omnipresent tension. Intense.
Meet Elliot Brindle, or better put: look in the mirror. His life is a series of mistakes made by other people. Plain and simple. Real. He’s got racist father, retarded brother and a black soon to be bride. And quite a debt. Quite a clusterfuck I would say. The answer to all of his problems is something green, and he desperately needs it. A mysterious phone call interrupts our, I mean his life and offers quite a proposal. Do something relatively benign and receive a certain amount of money. Would you eat a fly for a 10 000 $? I know I would, hell, I would eat a whole bowl of flies. Like fucking cereal, tastes like chicken. Elliot has to decide and I want you to guess what’s he going to do…
The most amazing thing about this movie is that it’s a compilation of concepts seen many times before. We have all seen Phonebooth, Cellular, and even Saw. Still, combing this thing with the concept of the bored elite is something that brought that final punch to the movie. It works on so many levels easily and throws in black humor with such grace that the viewer has no choice to continue. Fucking Ron Pearlman, he makes a lot of movies, and a lot of the times he hits right on the target. It’s like the good filmmakers seek him out. Weird. And you will also recognize a lot of faces appearing in supporting roles.
13 Sins takes us on a tour of the world we live but usually don’t notice. Or simply don’t want to notice and some people are living these lives every day. All this is accompanied by great pacing that series of increasingly surreal situations. That’s it, folks, I don’t wanna bore you with details, enjoy and check back…
Director: Writer: David Birke, Daniel Stamm
Cast: Mark Webber, Devon Graye, Ron Perlman, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Clyde Jones, Deneen Tyler
Fun Facts: It’s written in latin: SALTATIO CUM BUFO AURUM (top) and AD GAUDIUM DEORUM bottom side. Translation is roughly the joy of dancing with the golden toad