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61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics What's this?

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7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 18 Ratings

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  • Starring:
  • Summary: In the middle of nowhere, Sebastien (Babluani), a 22-year-old man, is repairing the house of old Jean- François Godon (Passon). But the elderly man dies without having paid his employee. Sebastien finds an envelope belonging to Godon and containing a strange invitation: a ticket train and a hotel reservation. Sebastien decides to steal Godon's identity and to get into the train. So begins a strange game. The young man discovers a terrifying world where men bet on other men's lives. (Film Forum) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 25
  2. Negative: 2 out of 25
  1. The language and the landscape is French, but the sensibility and style is unmistakably Eastern European.
  2. 83
    A stylish and unnerving thriller that sucks you into surreal scenes of horror with the chilly confidence of a nightmare.
  3. The film's simplicity and intensity are aided by the crisp black-and-white photography of Tariel Meliava. Director Babluani's greenness shows itself in the ending, which is weak, but the film nevertheless stays with you.
  4. 70
    The work of both Babluani brothers is weirdly stilled and mature, already devoid of the need to show off--serves only to thicken the horror.
  5. Reviewed by: Ethan Alter
    63
    13 Tzameti is certainly nightmarish, but it's the kind of nightmare that fades instead of lingering on in the memory.
  6. Reviewed by: Rob Nelson
    60
    The artiest entry in the ever growing torture-movie genre, this playfully wicked French thriller from twentysomething provocateur Gela Babluani blasts its way into your brainpan with the help of black-and-white widescreen cinematography whose striking but smooth textures better suit the upwardly mobile auteur than his poor protagonist.
  7. 13 (Tzameti) might seem allegorical, but it’s too cynically concerned with what works as entertainment to offer larger truths about human existence.

See all 25 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 7
  2. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. FredT.
    Mar 16, 2007
    9
    Kudos to the Babluani brothers, true artists. Although he might have followed through with the existential denoument his film seems to require, by forcing him to live in the hell of his conscience, that's a mere quibble. this is a remarkably assured and compelling film. Expand
  2. ChadS.
    Apr 4, 2007
    8
    If you've ever laid down a heavy bet: let's say the sport is horse racing, and your animal is trailing the leader; your wager takes precedence over the health of that horse who's kicking your horse's ass. You become a complete moron and a-hole. "13 Tzameti" can't accurately be called an extrapolation on sports wagering if the competition that Sebastien(George Babluani) finds himself entangled with is based on the testimony of a survivor who participated in such an event. Like a little bitch, I covered my eyes every time the next round would commence. It's absolutely horrifying. The disconnect between the dispassionate spectatorship of these formally-attired gentlemen, and the brutal spectacle of the "game" is downright chilling and flabbergasting. This is horror that a genre picture like "Black Christmas" can never match. "13 Tzameti" does a brilliant job of leading us to believe that Sebastien will be the most amoral figure in the film. Needless to say, he's a babe in the woods; resoundingly overmatched. "13 Tzameti" tantalizes the audience with this fundamental question: Is Sebastien's participation in the proceedings a crime, or all just part of the game?" In the last scene, "13 Tzameti" puts one of the two possible answers in its proper context. Expand
  3. ArmanR.
    Oct 2, 2006
    8
    This is a complete Horror movie
  4. Feb 7, 2013
    8
    Filmed in widescreen black-and-white, this dark and harrowing film conveys the look of film noir combined with the bleak existentialist sentiments found in so many Eastern European works. "13 Tzameti" is a stylish thriller that is difficult to describe without giving too much away in a review.
    A deceptive first half ticks slowly by as the pieces fall into place. Sébastien (Georges Babluani) leads an impoverished life constantly struggling to support his immigrant family. While repairing the roof of a neighbor's house, he overhears a conversation about a forthcoming package which promises to make the household rich. Sensing the opportunity of a lifetime, Sébastien intercepts the package which contains a series of veiled instructions. Following the cryptic clues, he assumes a false identity and manages to slip through the grasp of the encroaching police as he ventures deeper towards the unknown. The closer he gets to his destination, the less he understands. Ultimately, he comes face to face with a perverse ring of gamblers placing bets on a depraved game of chance where the spoils are unimaginable millions, and the losses are counted in lives. Directed by Gela Babluani, "13 Tzameti" is a winner-take-all thriller where a naive young man is transformed into Player 13 in game with only one way out. Babluani turns this cryptic game of cat and mouse into a running nightmare of cold-blooded tension. Georgian-born director Babluani works like a prize fighter, distracting attention with one hand before slamming home with the other, and the clinical black and white photography only adds to the nightmare. Once the game is revealed, however, drama is sacrificed for pure tension. But although the outcome is never in any doubt, the twist in this nasty little tale is anything but a cheap shot. If you're in the mood for chilling suspense, place your bet on "13 Tzameti."
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  5. Jan 14, 2011
    7
    Could have been a masterpiece if the actors could ooze a bit more emotion. The script is good with a number of surprising twists, but it is the direction that helps tighten the tension and deliver a great thriller. Expand
  6. DavidB.
    Aug 18, 2006
    4
    Beautifully shot thriller which points to some potenitally interesting material but doesn't come close to exploring the dark side of human-kind. Once we realize what is going to happen, it is a long haul to the end because its obvious our hero will survive. The final denoument is a complete let-down - its as if the filmakers didn't know how to end the film or deal with the potential shown in the first thrid of the movie. Very dissapointing. Expand
  7. Jun 29, 2011
    3
    another damned wasted superb idea. an interesting and exiting idea have led to a boring and non effective movie. at technical aspect, the film is very low class and annoying. Expand

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