Film Review: “13 Minutes” (2021)


Rating: 3 out of 5.

The true nature of a human being is always revealed during an intense moment. Whether it’s a good or bad side, it eventually comes out. Tornadoes, hurricanes or storms usually sweep away everything it sees on its way. However, what it can’t erase, remove or destroy is the desire to survive; dignity, selfishness, arrogance, courage, bravery and determination. All conflicting sides of individuals fight for one common goal – to survive.

Set in Heartland, the film revolves around four families whose paths cross during one life-changing day,  when an angry, unapologetic and strong tornado is about to hit the town. As the weather changes from bad to worse, farmers Rick (Trace Adkins) and Tammy (Anne Heche) are struggling to make ends meet. Their son Luke is the only hope for success, who happens to be closeted. And if he does, chances are that he will lose the love of his conservative parents. Maddy (Sofia Vassilieva) just learns about her pregnancy; her mother is supportive.

Ana (Paz Vega) and her fiancé Carlos (Yancey Arias) happen to be undocumented immigrants. All of them try to make their life better. With the upcoming storm, all of them must put their differences aside to fight for their own life. Kim (Amy Smart) is the Regional Emergency Manager, who is the first go-to person during emergencies. She must be alert, vigilant and ready to provide shelter, food and support to the survivors. When she leaves her daughter with Maddy, she does not realize what will happen eventually, putting her in a difficult position – choosing between her family, the life of her daughter and her duties that the community so much relies on.

I can go on and on about the importance of the storyline in Lindsay Gossling’s film. It’s not a film of scale you are used to seeing from Hollywood, but it has a big heart and good intention that concentrates on moments of despair rather than on what the tornado may do. For instance, Rick is a ruthless man who employs undocumented immigrants and treats them with disrespect. However, he recognizes in Carlos an important asset when the immigrant shows skills of fixing tractors. As a mechanic, he can do things even local workers could not. His son Luke pretends to be macho but at heart, he is a sweet, kind young man who shows toughness only to please his parents.

As I said, “13 Minutes” captures many aspects of the human side and all of them, believe it or not, are good. Yes, at some point, you will hate one individual more than the other. Spite, disgust and hatred might be your companion throughout. But it’s the bravery of some, desire to defeat the weather conditions and help as many people as possible that is the main driver of the film. There is no concrete character to shine in the film. Each and every one of them is important. Each has its story to tell. And that’s why “13 Minutes” is an important film to watch.

Because you can find a little bit of yourself in every character. Because we are not perfect. We change what we are based on our mood, situation and circumstance. This film tries to provide most of them, helping us to lead and guide the characters, learn with them, grow with them and, perhaps, become a bit better. So, to your answer whether it is worth watching or not, my answer to you will be – most definitely. Not because I am biased as I liked it very much. I just know, with all the films around where all the shooting happens, we need something to remind us we are all equal in the face of a big tragedy. Hurricanes or tornadoes do not care when it grounds all the houses down. It destroys everything in its path. And only when we stand on the same soil, lose everything we value and are left with the only thing we have always taken for granted, our loved ones, is the most priceless and beautiful feeling only tragic events remind us of their importance more than ever. 

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