REVIEW: DVD Release: 13: Game Of Death

Film: 13: Game Of Death
Release date: 24th August 2009
Certificate: 18
Running time: 109 mins
Director: Chukiat Sakveerakul
Starring: Krissada Terrence, Achita Sikamana, Sarunyu Wongkrachang, Nattapong Arunnate, Namfon Pakdee
Genre: Comedy/Crime/Drama/Horror/Mystery/Thriller
Studio: Revolver
Format: DVD
Country: Thailand

13: Game Of Death is Chukiat Sakveerakul’s second film, certainly his most infamous. Prior to its DVD release in the UK in 2009, there was a lot of hype regarding the violence and gore involved in the film’s storyline – and it certainly doesn’t disappoint on that score. 13: Game Of Death poses the question, how far would you go for money?

This is the story of unhappy office worker Chit, who is having the worst day imaginable. After losing his girlfriend, having his car repossessed, and being forced to quit his job by his boss, it is hard to think that his day could get any worse, until he gets a mysterious phone call that presents him with thirteen challenges that will result in his winning 100 million baht ($1 million). There are only three rules: he must not tell anyone what he is doing, no-one must find out, and the police must not catch him.

The first couple of tasks seem simple enough, from swatting a fly and eating it, to stealing a toy from a small child. However, as he progresses through riddles and scenes of violence, and the money increases considerably, so too does the difficulty of the challenges given to him by the curious voices at the other end of his phone.

He must hurry before his nosey friend from the office, Tong, finds out what he is up to...

The script is a blend of genres. It begins as a comedy drama that makes you laugh and cringe, but as the story charges towards the finale, it radically spirals into a horror thriller. It is apparent that to watch this film you need a twisted sense of humour, and a strong stomach - as a rather memorable scene in a restaurant proves.

This film focuses on Chit as his day steadily gets worse, and the director has certainly used pathetic fallacy as a tool to portray this. As the day speeds on towards darkness, the atmosphere of the film changes with the setting sun. The comic misfortunes of his day occur while it is still light, but as it reaches night, there is little to laugh about. The film uses mainly grey dingy colours that mirror the mundane life of Chit, which also proves to be another reason for setting himself on this endeavour.

There is not a performance out of place. Krissada Terrence is excellent as Chit, who is a very likable and sympathetic character. As we get to know him, we discover that he is a nice guy who, although he is in debt, sends money to his family. The film uses a series of flashbacks from his childhood that reveal to the audience why Chit cannot speak up for himself, and it becomes clearer as to why he accepts the thirteen challenges as the film progresses. It is great to watch his character develop, then, as he gains a backbone and does not hesitate to initiate fights with people who get in the way of his prize money.

The cinematography of the film could have been a lot better, however, with more consideration for a greater stylised feel. Saying that, it still encompassed all the elements to keep viewers on the edge of their seats, with the correct series of quick cuts, long shots and camera pans that kept the fast pace of the film that never slowed until the end.

Sakveerakul tackles a real-life problem in Thailand that addresses the issue of the elderly being forgotten by their families, and suffering because of it. He has looked at this issue and taken it to the extreme in a memorable scene that disturbs and shocks. It will horrify, but amuse also.

The soundtrack has been well chosen and suits the fast pace of the film, assisting the action on screen with precision. There is a task in the film that seems too simple considering those that it has followed, but as the music creeps into the scene, you know that all is not as it seems. The soundtrack’s role in the film is to engage your curiosity and warn you when it is time to look away.

The storyline certainly keeps you watching, challenge by challenge, but the twist at the end is really not good enough, and quite frankly disappointing. It feels as though the writer was trying to be too clever. It undoubtedly accomplishes its goal in shocking the audience, but it seems like the film needed a more meaningful ending, especially after the gruelling journey the viewers have embarked upon with Chit.

13: Game Of Death goes out of its way to shock its viewers. It requires a dark sense of humour and a love of gory films, but with unforgettable scenes, it is surely a film to be talked about – which means job well done for the filmmakers. TB

No comments:

Post a Comment