What do you expect to see in a disaster movie? Some impressive effects, a cast of mismatched heroes, a gradual but compelling build up of drama that suggests a big disaster is coming? Well, 13 Minutes doesn't really provide any of that. In fact, even those of us who enjoy crap TV disaster movies are likely to be disappointed.
We spend the first hour getting to know a group of fairly boring characters. Maddy (Sofia Vassilieva) is pregnant and is seeking an abortion. Unfortunately, the doctor in the family planning clinic, Tammy (Anne Heche) is pro-life and chases her out the door with cries of “babies are a blessing”, or something along those lines. Ana (Paz Vega) and her fiancé Carlos (Yancey Arias) are living in a motel while he attempts to work through the language barrier and she saves up to buy a house. There's a little deaf girl, Peyton (Shaylee Mansfield – who is a deaf actress! Yay!) whose parents work in weather – one reading it and one predicting it. And then there's Jess (Thora Birch) who is Maddy's mother and beyond being the voice of contrast to the bible belt doctrine doesn't seem to do very much.
We spend the first hour watching these characters doing unlikeable things badly, wondering when the disaster is going to happen. Then it gets windy for a bit, they all overcome their differences miraculously (mostly) and then it ends.
It attempts to address a huge number of issues in modern America: immigration, abortion, feminism, racism, homophobia, you name it. But 13 Minutes does this in such an obvious way that it's unlikely to challenge anyone's preconceived notions or present any sort of compelling arguments. It's bland, slow, boring and doesn't even manage to be funny.
If you're looking for a rubbish disaster movie, you could do much, much better.
Signature Entertainment presents 13 Minutes on Digital Platforms 1st November and DVD 17th January