The idea of circularity plays a large theme in this film. The barrel of the gun. The circle they stand in while playing the game. It could be taken to mean any number of things, but the circularity of violence is a clear thematic expression made in this film. The Russian Roulette circle expresses it on a topical level, but the deeper circle of depravity and wont of care for human life is evident.
Higher stakes, more money, more bullets, everything spirals downward until one man is standing and it begins again. The camera swivels around the inside of the circle. We see a frame with a player's arm extended, cut off at the wrist, another arm is coming from the other side of the frame holding a gun pointed right at the player's head. It gives the impression that he is killing himself, which, he essentially is by taking part in this game. But, what happens when the player is there by mere circumstance?
These and other questions are all at play in 13 (Tzameti). While the film examines deeper issues, it remains at heart a thriller. Anyone who said it was predictable is a really bad liar. Babluani builds tension so effectively that the release isn't even important. It is one of the best thrillers in recent memory, original and daring, yet also stands out as example of directorial brilliance. Babluani made a remarkable first film and I will eagerly await to see what he comes up with next.
DVD features include interviews with cast and crew, an interview with a man who claims to have taken part in the games depicted in the film and a hilarious short film (that is, if you enjoy watching old ladies shoot themselves in the face).