Hand-held camera rocks.

I love gritty, hand-held cinematography. It always seem to capture the life of the performances. It also aids in the suspension of disbelief, the moments seeming all the more real. Thirteen is full of this, and as a consequence will piss of some viewers.

ThirteenI thought this film was fantastic, but it’s probably a good thing that I wasn’t aware of the filmmakers’ intentions. If they were trying to shock, it simply didn’t work. This may have to do with modern audiences being desensitised in the wake of films such as Kids, but also… come on, the kids are thirteen, and thus their trespasses aren’t ever that terrible. Apparently the writers drew from their own experiences, and, as such, the situations play out as real rather than shocking.

Holly Hunter is fantastic, and we’re left being both sympathetic towards her and frustrated by her inability to lay down the law. She’s surrounded by a great supporting cast. (A special nod here to Kip Pardue who recently – in Thirteen and The Rules Of Attraction – has proven that he can act as long as it’s a good film and specifically not Driven.) The kids are great… although I kept wondering if the picture had been stretched – they are SO thin. It’s quite scary.

I loved the increasing colour saturation. You’ll notice that the colour of the film changes as the plot advances.

It was kind of a wake up call for me. I remember the importance of being popular at that age, but, of course, most kids don’t go to such extraordinary lengths to become cool. I think just about everyone can empathise with the initial feelings and motivations of the main character, and this helps the film reel you in emotionally.

I’m loving the new breed of independent hand held American films (Pieces Of April, Tape et al.). I think that by destroying some of the traditional Hollywood facade (special effects; stunning cinematography; clean, crisp images), more poignant and hard hitting performances can be coaxed into the mainstream spotlight.

Rating: 3 stars
Review by Stuart Wilson, 20th April 2004
Hoopla Factor: 3.5 stars

Wrong Turn A Perfect Murder