13 Sins hit me as film which starts off as a dark comedy but by the time the film culminates into an audacious climax, it turns into a deeply affecting experience. The tale of a man who would risk it all to win happiness and comfort for his near and dear ones is commonplace but the tale of a man who starts off on a crusade to save his family but ends up harming them more than saving them is somewhat of an extreme. The protagonist here for a good part of the film believes in what he is doping until he is shown a mirror by happenstance which actually shows him the lines that he had crossed. All this happening in an environment which is very everyday America.
Elliot is a down on luck salesman who is neck deep in debt. His girlfriend is expecting a child and they are due to get married. However Elliot gets fired for not having the balls to get dirty from his firm. Helpless and without any resources, Elliot receives a cryptic phone call informing him that he could be part of a shadowy game show where he could win millions of dollars. All he has to do is complete 13 tasks and he also has the luxury of leaving at any juncture losing all the winnings that he might have accumulated by that time.
His first two tasks involve killing a fly that is bothering him and then eating that fly. Suddenly thousands of dollars appear in his account and Elliot is hooked. The tasks keep coming in thick and fast and each task is more sinister than the previous. It’s only a matter of time before Elliot gets stuck in the web of things where his invisible viewers keep bending the rules to their amusement and Elliot’s disadvantage. Soon he is so much in trouble that he reaches a point of no return. He not only stands to lose all that he had won but also destroy the family that he was trying to save.
The film gets to its point in real quick time. It just takes enough time to set up the basic premise meaning showing the viewers why Elliot needs the money in the first place. The period is also used to show the strong bond that he shares with his mentally challenged brother creating the base work for the shocks that would come in the future. It is also used to show the hatred that his father holds for his girlfriend’s community to primarily give us ominous signs of what is to come. Once the tasks start, the film quickly shifts to top gear raring one breakneck run to another as our protagonist tries to complete his unsavory tasks.
Towards the end, Elliot starts trying to break free from the game but to his shock he finds other players crossing path with him literally keeping him in the game. The final jolt comes right at the end when some shocking revelations are made. There is also the track involving a cop who is out to hunt down Elliot as he wrecks nuisance across the city. The games does provide Elliot with a few chances at retribution like the scene where he chops off the hands of a childhood bully who apparently pissed on his brother’s face. As Elliot starts enjoying his essay of brutality, he is quickly shaken awake by some cleverly designed scenes.
Mark Webber excels as the protagonist and he exudes enough acting talent to get the people hooked. His character changes from a meek and mild mannered salesman to a marauding and ruthless adversary within this short period of time and by the end he gets back into his own image. This transformation had to be made smooth and believable and thankfully both are achieved. Devon Graye as his mentally challenged brother lends him good support. Tom Bower as their father is perfectly hate able and that’s all that is asked of him.
13 Sins is a film which will shake you up by the end. It is an exhilarating ride into a man’s ability to do certain things that he cannot unless he shrugs off the robe of humanity. 13 Sins shows us what man is capable of doing for some money when he is in need and he decides to shun his humanity. This is not for the people who cannot digest violence or for the faint of heart. Be ready for some ultra violence and high octane entertainment.