Review: 13 – Game of Death
Phuchit (Krissada Sukosol) is not having a good day. He is heavily in debt, has just lost his car, his job and has recently been dumped by his girlfriend who wants to pursue a career as a pop star. Gathering his thoughts on a stairwell, Phuchit receives a call inviting him to take part in a game. The caller describes everything about Phuchit, even where he is standing at that particular moment which is enough to get his attention. To start with he is invited to kill an annoying fly with a rolled up magazine and if successful he will have 10,000 baht sent straight to his account. Phuchit kills the fly, checks his balance and the money is indeed there!
What follows is a day of challenges for Phuchit. The caller offers him the chance to take part in a game where he has 13 challenges to complete in total. Each one comes with an increased amount of money as a reward while completion of all tasks will amount to 100 million baht. Suddenly, Phuchit has the opportunity to settle all of his crippling financial affairs in the space of a day but each challenge ups the ante and pushes him to the absolute limit. Phuchit also has the problem of a colleague, Tong (Achita Sikamana), who is suspicious of his strange behaviour and investigates what is going on. There are many rules in place where Phuchit can forfeit the game but failure to complete all 13 challenges will see him lose all the money he has won. Can he complete all the challenges and at what cost to himself and others will his pursuit of money entail?
13 – Game of Death is a fascinating thriller that asks the question of what one desperate man is willing to do for money. In this case, Phuchit is willing to go very far. Some of the challenges here initially seem straightforward but others will horrify you, with at least one or two likely to turn a few stomachs. Sukosol is great in the lead, visibly deteriorating both physically and mentally as he becomes immersed in the game and continually gets his hands dirty in search of that ultimate prize. As with many good thrillers, a twist is waiting at the end and it is both clever and surprising.
13 – Game of Death is a very good Thai thriller that explores the depths of human greed and endeavour. While some elements may be too unpleasant for some people, this is still worth trying for the myriad of challenges alone and that twist at the end as Phuchit nears the end of the game. Undoubtedly gruesome but difficult to turn away from.
(Film source: reviewer’s own copy)
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