So was it Just Shit or THE SHIT?...
In short the movie follows Eric Brindle (Mark Webber) as he stumbles ever further into a downward spiral caused primarily by debt and made infinitely worse by family responsibilities he has taken upon himself to manage. In the first few scenes Eric loses his job, ironically in a situation where he was hoping for a promotion, and in doing do so shows his main character flaw; the ability (not quite a superpower) to let others walk all over him. He returns home to tell his bride to be Shelby (Rutina Wesley, better known as Tara on True Blood) the news.
The premise of this film hangs on the “what if” scenario, I think we've all, at one time or another, had the thought, “how much money it would take for me to do this or that up to something obviously criminal or morally horrendous.” A state of boredom can lead many an unoccupied mind to a plethora of strange and wonderful hypothetical scenarios which is the entire basis of 13 Sins.
In much the same regard another film was revamped, if you will, in much the same way albeit lacking any hum or namely, ironically enough, a '13' in its title. It featured action star Jason Statham and was a blatant copy of another, 13 Tzameti, also directed by the same person, Gela' Babluani, but written for a French audience five years earlier. There are others (using the Swedish then American made, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, as an example) though I won't allow myself to digress to the point of damaging a digit and/or running out of ink.
On a serious note IMO this is a well produced and stylishly shot movie, at times it has a frantic pace but continues to flow coherently and stays easy to follow. I will happily admit that I didn't glance at my watch once (it passed our “clock test” with flying colors Feind!).
*The "clock test" - If, while watching a movie, you find yourself checking the clock or how much time is left in the movie, it isn't very good.
Ron Perlman ( of Hellboy & Sons of Anarchy fame among many others and an actor who manages to pop up in movies when you least expect him) portrays a veteran cop who stays hot on the trail that Eric leaves in his wake via camera shots that continue to pour in resulting from his more unsavory quests (there's a spoiler that ultimately doesn't make any difference!). In one of the movie's final scenes Ron Perlman displays cleaning attributes that result in a shocking incident, one yet to be found in any Guillermo Del Toro flick.
I do however have a couple of qualms, the first being in the opening scene. Set at an awards show it appears a celebrated elderly person has somewhat of a 'breakdown', in an acceptance speech reciting a deliciously wicked limerick that John Valby (aka Dr Dirty) might be proud of (look him up he's a rather foul mouthed comedian that plays a mean Grand). This is followed by a self inflicted bloody incident with a small blade. It's possible that I wasn't paying attention and the incident referred to a contestant in another game, it only gives me yet another reason to re-watch though I don't need many.
*Side Note: while Feind was on R&R in June, John Valby played at the beach club only a 2 minute walk away!
The finale of the film contains twists and shocks enough to fill several movies the most notable of which for me being the one that didn't involve the spilling and splattering of claret. There's a stunner!
In conclusion I whole heartedly recommend this, and also the original if you prefer to take the slightly different scenic route. Truth be told, I wasn't expecting much and I came away pleasantly surprised. If you have tastes resembling mine you also enjoy scenes of brutality and humor, not necessarily in that order. This movie, I am happy to report, supplies both, although to fully appreciate the humor one must venture to the jaded side of the PC fence to where I can be found... serving drinks!
The first scene Cult described of the elderly man taking a blade to himself after spewing out a dirty little limerick is never fully explained that I remember but after viewing the film one can assume it was another “13 steps” contestant trying to complete a task for cash. And why does everything have 13 fucking steps anyway? 13 is somehow supposed to be an unlucky number, if you believe in such superstition, yet it’s the number of steps for every rehab program ever invented. No wonder people relapse! HA! Sorry, got off on a little tangent there.
So as you can see I have at least one slight problem with the film in that it just isn’t sick & twisted enough but I get that it wasn’t made just for my viewing pleasure so I can forgive that. The other qualm I have is something that I find far too many films do, both inside and outside of horror, in putting in too many fucking twists at the end. Yes, yes you’re so fucking clever Mr. Writer. I know as a writer myself that the temptation is always there but 13 Sins makes the mistake of just having a few too many so that the scenario which had been incredibly enjoyable becomes almost laughable when that isn’t the actual intention. At least it wasn’t the old “it was all just a dream” bullshit which is as tired a plot device as a narcoleptic sloth nor was there a twin involved anywhere so praise Satan for that! You may enjoy a million plot twists at the end of a film that turn the sensical to the nonsensical but this Scribbler does not (*Side Note: M. Night Shamalamadingdong Kill Yourself!). 13 Sins was still enjoyable and the “too many plot twists” thing is really just a little pet peeve of mine so I can forgive it.
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