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Dear 13 Tzameti,

In the moments following the end of our time together I was forced to remain seated a bit longer than is normal for me. Time was needed to let my muscle unfurl, because even though you had what amounted to a ten-minute long denouement during which I could recover from your second act, I was still tense. My hands still were balled in fists. My teeth were still clenched. My eyes were still fixed on the screen.

I will attempt, in explaining to you the reasons for my reaction and the affection for you they bred in me, to remain spoiler free. It’ll make it hard for me to really discuss the fullness of your finer points, but at the same time, it will allow for others to experience your power with the same chastity that I had.

The key to your magic is tension. True tension is a movie is difficult to manage. There is always an expectation of character safety during films that drains a bit of the life-or-death drama out of a situation. No one really expects the main character to die before he defeats the villain, so the best that could be hoped for is surprise. However, often times the run up to an event is undercut by impatience undercutting the anticipation. The trick, then, is the make it so that the tension itself is the event.

You manage this by creating a central mystery, and giving us a sympathetic character to follow into the mystery. He is young, impoverished, and working as a roofer in order to contribute to the meager existence his family is eking out. In the midst of a job, he discovers a secret which might very well be the answer to this money problems, but involves quite a bit of subterfuge and secrecy.

Where he is going is unknown, and when he arrives the purpose of his journey is even more enigmatic. To this point, you have been a mystery movie that teases almost to the point of sadism. The opacity of your narrative is almost superfluous, until finally the truth comes out and the gentle momentum of the drive to uncover the mystery gives way to the propulsive, yet somehow near static, midsection.

It is during this point that the true nature of tension and unease begins to set in. You create a situation with a setup and a conclusion, and of course between these two instances is the stress of unknowing. The magic here, though, is that the setup that you engage in creates a shock of unbelieving. The endgame, then, is even more terrifying to realize, especially when the mechanic for achieving that endgame is revealed.

I know, film, that I am being pretty obtuse in my explanation of your charms. But maybe charms is the wrong word. You are not a charming movie. You are a viscerally engaging experience that sticks with the viewer long after your time together has come to its close. You have an aesthetic, a force of visual narrative that is unmatched. I could not recommend you enough to anyone I know, and would defy someone to say that they were not affected by your character. With the caveat, of course, that the remain completely ignorant to your true nature.

Enigmatically yours,

Brian J. Roan

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