13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016)

13hours_2016_poster
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016)
  • Time: 144 min
  • Genre: Action | Drama | Thriller
  • Director: Michael Bay
  • Cast: Pablo Schreiber, John Krasinski, James Badge Dale

Storyline:

An American Ambassador is killed during an attack at a U.S. compound in Libya as a security team struggles to make sense out of the chaos.

One review

  • One doesn’t expect substance and political significance of Michael Bay but his 13 Hours delivers both in fine, loud style.
    The film details the 2012 Libyan terrorist attack upon the US embassy in Benghazi, including the death of the ambassador. The film repeats the government’s initial but discredited claim, that he died of smoke inhalation, sparing the fine man’s memory the physical abuse and indignity he reportedly suffered while alive. It also rejects the government’s claim there had been no warning of an attack on the under-protected facility.
    As in the classic Western, the anti-savagery force is split between the rod-ass by-the-book West Pointer and the intuitive, self-reliant, pragmatic Maverick. Here the disaster is caused by the secret CIA administration’s refusal to deploy the nearby corps of contract soldiers on time.
    And the political significance? The film implicitly joins the current US presidential debate. Understand, Hollywood films are always reluctant to take sides on any contentious political issue. John Wayne could risk the box office damage making The Green Berets (1968) during the contentious Vietnam War. But the liberal perspective was delivered indirectly. Robert Altman expressed the Left’s opposition to an absurd, gory Asian war but set MASH (1970) in the Korean war instead. Scriptwriter Ring Lardner Jr knew the costs of being openly political in Hollywood. He was one of the Hollywood Ten blacklisted for supposed communist leanings. Not till Coming Home, The Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now eight years later did the Left address the Vietnam war directly.
    And so today. The Big Short, by exposing the criminal greed of the banks behind the 2008 economic collapse, with virtually no-one punished, and no systemic changes made to prevent its recurrence, has the side-effect of promoting the economic revolution promised by Bernie Sanders, in contrast to the modest billionaire Trump and big-business-supported Hilary Clinton.
    Poor Hilary can’t buy a break here. She’s not named in13 Hours but the incompetence and callousness of her government implicates her severely, especially as this fiasco happened on her watch, i.,e., is part of the experience edge she claims over Bernie. At the same time the central tension between CIA officer and contract soldier implicitly plays to the advantage of the brash Donny Trump, maverick deluxe.

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