||THIRTEEN is Catherine Hardwicke's explosive portrait of teenage girls at their very worst. Mean, manipulative, conniving, and utterly out of control, these skinny, sexy, drug-addicted, 13-year-old time bombs are nothing short of terrifying. Hardwicke's movie is brilliant in its ability to portray this phenomenon, which comes off as very real. The skillful photography from cinematographer Elliot Davis communicates the most complicated themes of the film: insecurity, confusion, wanting to be liked and accepted, and feeling like it's time to grow up fast. In an early scene, protagonist Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood), a shy girl and good student, approaches Evie (Nikki Reed), the school's ultra-popular bad girl, and the two size up each other's clothing, jewelry, hair, shoes, socks, and decide to go on a shopping spree. From there Tracy spirals downward, copying Evie's every move in an aggressive game of daring each other to take increasingly dangerous risks--stealing, getting piercings, experimenting with sex, drinking and taking drugs, and much more. All the while Tracy's mom (Holly Hunter) who is a bohemian ex-alcoholic trying to be open-minded and supportive about her daughter's rebellion, slowly loses her authority and her ability to cope with these volatile teens. A booming, excellent soundtrack punctuates the hyper, desperate, manic mood of the girls' behavior, and catalyzes the adrenaline rush that is THIRTEEN.