#REVIEW: “13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLIDERS OF BENGHAZI”
Review by Jonathan Godfrey for Mr. Will Wong
The 2012 Battle of Benghazi was an absolute Charlie Foxtrot. In other words, a mess. On September 11th, 2012, a band of armed Libyans attacked what was then a secret American outpost. From that day forward the catastrophe that cost lives for both sides has been as misunderstood as it’s been paraded about as an example of injustice.
In 2014, Mitchell Zuckoff released his Book “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi.” The Book utilized the first-hand recollections of several individuals, and further stoked the fires that had been burning for years.
Cut to today. Michael Bay has released his adaptation of the aforementioned book, and adjusted its title to read, “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.” The Film focuses on the contracted security men who fought-off Libyan forces, and provided the testimonies for Zuckoff’s tale. As the story goes, Jack De Silva (John Krasinski) has come to Libya in an effort to provide for his family, as well as maintain his sanity. Jack, like his brother-in-arms, is an ex-military man who has discovered his inability to adjust to civilian life. In Benghazi, Jack feels empowered and able to accomplish the task at hand… that is until the evening of September 11th, 2012.
As dusk approaches, visiting ambassador Chris Stevens (Matt Letscher) is attacked by a militia of Libyan gunmen. Jack and his response team seek CIA approval to respond to the attack, but are pressured to remain on standby. What ensues is a 13 hour assault costing the lives of several men… on both sides of the conflict. Bay depicts this well. His ability to execute action sequences is outstanding as usual, and he’s less Team America here than one would think. Nevertheless, this is a tribute to the Americans who died during this attack.
Americans here are represented by actors Pablo Schreiber and David Denman. Not only do these men fit the mold (flex-offs abound), they’re also convincing as their characters (Tanto & Boon). Amidst the fighting, they handle their weapons well, and when the fighting stops, they emote with conviction. Speaking of weapons, the armourers afford the cast with quite the arsenal. Modified assault rifles, heavy machine guns, and a ton of RPGs. (Role-Playing Games). Furthermore, it’s visually splendid. Director of Photography Dion Beebe (Edge of Tomorrow) is detailed in his depiction of the attack.
The attack, like all armed interactions, is still misunderstood. How can lives taken out of malice ever be understood in a way that appeases our emotional core? It can’t. Instead, this is a Film to incite one’s emotions. To witness through a clouded lens what six men were forced to face one fateful fall evening. It’s a tough piece to put a label on. It’s tougher still to criticize. However, it is worth seeing and it’s in theatres now.
Paramount Pictures Canada release 13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI Friday, January 15, 2016 in select cities and across Canada Friday, January 22, 2016.