A young immigrant roofer Sebastian (Georges Babluani) is hired to repair the roof of a drug addict (Philippe Passon) who is also under police surveillance. While slaving away and working long hours, Sebastian eavesdrops on his employer and overhears a vague detail about a get rich quick scheme. When the boss dies from an overdose and his employer’s sister is unable to pay him, Sebastian seizes his chance and decides to venture on the scheme. As he follows a set of anonymous instructions that lead him deep into the French countryside, Sebastian soon discovers that he has bitten off more than he can chew and the scheme reveals itself to be a deadly gambling event of Russian roulette.
Directed by Géla Babluani, this absorbing French feature is filled with agonising suspense, nail-biting thrills and claustrophobic tension. 13 Tzameti (2005) is a thriller with such pure and raw rigidity that the film’s compelling story is centred on the cruelty of luck. As the men are given numbers, they’re names and identities cease to exist when they arrange themselves into a circle and point their revolver at the man in front of them. As the spectators place bets on who will survive, your morals are meshed into frenzy when you hope the guy behind Sebastian doesn’t have a bullet in his chamber. The black and white cinematography adds to the hellish nightmare when Sebastian’s innocence slowly disappears with each round.
As the film’s drama is replaced with tension and the film concludes with a horrifying finish. Director Babluani makes 13 Tzameti a brilliant art house film with style of unnerving thrills that drags you into a malicious game with the highest stakes and unspeakable luck. The entire ambience of the film is a surreal nightmare with an unwavering attitude to violence to be trapped in a pitiless whole of gambling and murder.