PictureThe anamorphic widescreen image (there is a full frame image on side B) is far from reference quality being fairly soft for a such a recent release, but when you take into account the fact that most of the movie was shot on location using a hand held camera and was made with a budget of just two million dollars, one can forgive the fairly average image being displayed. There are a couple of picture anomalies that do need mentioning though - around the 00:04:09 mark the picture takes on a very strange look with a couple of the actor's faces looking decidedly artificial and unnatural - given the subject matter at that precise moment I did at first wonder if it was deliberate, but I doubt it. Later in the movie at 01:25:37 the colour palette changes leaving the image virtually black and white. This time it is definitely deliberate as it coincides with a low point in Tracy's young life and serves to express this fact.
Overall the grainy image, changeable colour palette and shaky hand held camera actually serve to enhance the feel engendered by the no holds barred story, although the use of edge enhancement, unobtrusive as it may be, is a little less forgivable.
SoundThis is a very dialogue driven movie and as such the Dolby Digital 448Kbps is locked to the centre channel most of the time. The only workout your system is likely to receive is during the many rap and rock music moments scattered throughout the film - and even then it's as though somebody forgot that rear speakers had been invented.
ExtrasThirteen has been presented on a double sided DVD with the anamorphic widescreen presentation of the movie along with audio commentary and deleted scenes on one side; flip the disc over and there's a full screen version of the movie, a repeat of the audio commentary, six minute “making of” featurette and the almost obligatory theatrical trailer. Nothing then to set the world afire, but the commentary has its moments, with the director and main characters, aside from Ms Hunter, reminiscing on their movie-making experiences.
VerdictIf you like your movies to have a beginning, a middle and an end, and fancy a break from computer generated imagery - the most effect laden moment of the movie consisted of a suction tongue stud - then Thirteen should be on your short list. Despite the fact that there's not a cop in sight I think of this movie as a kind of feminine equivalent of Narc - it's hard and gritty and full of solid, down to earth acting. Anchored by first time director Catherine Hardwicke Thirteen has my wholehearted recommendation.
Our Review Ethos