Movie Review - 13 Sins
Writer-Director Daniel Stamm's latest dark comedy / horror film, 13 Sins, starts off as one of the most promising movies of the year. With the first two acts being damned near perfect, and an absolutely astonishing balance between the humorous and the disturbing, the film is definitely an amazing effort on the part of the film makers. Unfortunately, though, the ending of the film is extremely underwhelming. Which is disappointing, because the film starts off so strong. This is not, in any way, a critique of the film makers' abilities, but only to say that the ending left me feeling disappointed and I would be hard pressed not to point that out. The story feels a lot like the plot to my favorite movie of 2014, E.L. Katz's Cheap Thrills. And although it doesn't feel like some cheap imitation, per se, Cheap Thrills is still the superior film. All the same, I say give 13 Sins a try, it's currently available on Netflix so you won't have to look too far.
Elliot Brindle is a man down on his luck. His wife, Shelby, is expecting a baby in addition to being financially responsible for his mentally disabled brother, Michael. And just when he starts feeling like he's really getting ahead at work, he is unexpectedly fired from his job. Drowning in debt, Michael is completely defeated. Then one night, while sitting at a red light, Michael receives a mysterious phone call that sets off an increasingly violent and dangerous game of risks. The caller informs him that he must complete thirteen tasks, each more difficult than the last, promising him that if he does he will be rewarded with cash prizes totaling upwards of six million dollars. Although Elliot agrees to participate, feeling he has no other choice, he has absolutely no idea what he's gotten himself into.
The entire ensemble is stellar. Mark Webber gives the performance of his career as Elliot Brindle, a man pushed to the edge by complete and total desperation. He manages to dive headlong into the darkness while still selling the humor and absurdity of the situation. Rutina Wesley turns in her most subtle and naturalistic work as Shelby. And Devon Graye is utterly heartbreaking as Elliot's mentally disabled brother, Michael. Devastating and sad, the chemistry between the brothers is astounding. And Ron Perlman is, well, Ron Perlman. He's awesome.
13 Sins an amazing movie, and there were several twists throughout the course of the film that really caught me off guard. It is impressive and surprising. The only problem I had, is that I didn't love the ending. To explain what I didn't like about it, I would have to reveal details of the film that would amount to spoilers. So let me just say that although the ending is entirely plausible, it didn't provide me with any catharsis. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't check this movie out. And, as I said, it's now available on Netflix so add it to your queue. Cheers.
- Leo Francis