13 Moons

13 MOONS. 2002

Director: Alexandre Rockwell

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Two of my favorite actors are in 13 Moons, Steve Buscami as Banana the Clown, & as his wee pal, Peter Dinklage of The Station Agent playing Binky.

They are losers who've been making a piss-poor living as clowns on a cable television program for kids, & from which they are newly fired. Jennifer Beals as Banana's angry wife Suzi is barely glimpsed among the supporting cast, for the cast is large, perhaps too large, & no one actor quite gets enough screen time to seem significant to the film. The film might've come together better if it had been more about Banana & Binky as a focal characters, as it's just about impossible to look at these two actors on the screen without being interested in what they do & what is going to happen to them.

There are many great mini-performances & wonderful ambiance throughout the film, which takes place during a night in Los Angeles. Except for being in L.A., it has much the tone & feeling as such New York City films as 48 Hours, Desparately Seeking Susan, I Shot Andy Warhol, or 13 Moons director Alexandre Rockwell's best film, In the Soup with a much stronger role for Buscemi.

The motivation for the film's momentum is a missing creepy Santa (Peter Stormare) whose kidney could save a child's life if anyone can find him in time. But it's really a tale of character more than plot & the sundry story elements never tie together nor even make a lot of sense in & of themselves.

Many scenes stand alone for the encounters between a fine ensemble cast all trying to one-up each other at being lowlife weirdos. Reliant on quirkiness, the film should have been as good as the performances. Unfortunately none of the characters are particularly likeable even as misfits, getting only enough screen-time each to reveal themselves self-serving, stupid, & repulsive, but not enough to find redemption in the good deed they're allegedly uniting to perform. The script they bumble around in never adds up to much, so the film just isn't, in its totality, one of Buscemi's best vehicles (those would be In the Soup, Ghost World, & Tree's Lounge for starters).

The film does, however, have some lovely noirish night photography, & is a fairly good example of independent cinema that avoids ordinariness & hasn't sold-out to the current category-commerciality that being an independent films has too often become.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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