13 Bombs

Italian Premiere | In Competition


Guest star:
Angga DWIMAS SASONGKO, director
Taufan ADRYAN, producer


13 Bombs (or 13 Bombs in Jakarta as the original 13 Bom di Jakarta is called) ambitiously propels the Indonesian thriller to a new level of breathtaking tension and technical precision, in a plot that combines the threat of terrorism with a critique of global capitalism.

The film opens with a tense action sequence: a convoy carrying money is chased and brutally attacked by what appears to be a handful of thieves. Filmed and edited with a vigour and skill that has nothing to envy from US action productions, the sequence ends, however, with a surprise, revealing the other nature of the assailants’ gesture. And this is where the National Counter-Terrorism Agency (ICTA) comes in, because it is clear that this was a symbolic gesture that foretells other agendas.

This is soon confirmed by a video message of revindication by a mysterious masked leader, Arok (Rio Dewanto), who also announces that he has placed no less than 13 bombs in the metropolitan area of the Indonesian capital Jakarta – bombs that will be detonated at eight-hour intervals. And so a race against time begins for the ICTA team headed by Damaskus (Rukman Rosadi), where the rivalry between the more thoughtful Karin (Putri Ayudya) and the instinctive Emil (Ganindra Bimo) is palpable. The ensuing undertakings carried out by the subversive group and the resulting investigation will unveil an attempt to subvert the economic order based on global capital flows, in connection with the emergence of cryptocurrencies – and will see the involuntary involvement of Oscar (Chicco Kurniawan) and William (Ardhito Pramono), computer geniuses who are the founders of a start-up working on bitcoins.

After the notable success of Stealing Raden Saleh (2022), Angga Dwimas Sasongko confirms himself with 13 Bombs as a leading and ground-breaking figure in the Indonesian film industry. Prolific and versatile, from film to film, Sasongko does not rely on the overused formulas and formats that plague much local commercial production, as he constantly strives to raise the bar of quality in entertainment cinema.

In doing so, while clearly taking US and Korean cinema as a model, Sasongko also tries to imbue his productions with a local identity. And it is here that we can identify the element of originality in a film like 13 Bombs. Because beyond the excellent handling of the action sequences (from the opening robbery to the storming of the alleged terrorist hideout, up to the lengthy final showdown), it is clear that the screenplay (co-written by the director with M. Irfan Ramli) aims to make the audience reflect on potentially controversial and divisive themes. Individual dramas underpin the choice of radical action, and the dramatic progression of 13 Bombs blurs the boundaries between good and evil, right and wrong. And the film’s final image directly questions the viewer to this effect, leaving the verdict open on whether or not it was a happy ending.

Paolo Bertolin
Film director: Angga DWIMAS SASONGKO
Year: 2023
Running time: 144'
Country: Indonesia
26/04 - 11:15 AM
Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine
26-04-2024 11:15 26-04-2024 13:39Europe/Rome 13 Bombs Far East Film Festival Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da UdineCEC Udine cec@cecudine.org