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FLICKS: 13 Hours

Posted on 21 January 2016 by LeslieM

In 2012, on the evening of the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, a group of Islamic militants attacked two American diplomatic compounds in Libya, killing Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, and injuring 10 more. The first response from the U.S. State Department was the claim that the attack was a protest over an anti-Islamic video that had surfaced on the Internet in July 2012. The “protest video” theory was proven false and [some say] was a diversion by the State Department, which had failed to provide adequate security for Americans on foreign soil.

Based on the book 13 Hours by Michael Zuckoff, producer/director Michael Bay has attempted to cut through the propaganda and present the story of the Benghazi tragedy.

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi opens and closes with Jack Silva’s (John Krasinski) arrival and departure in Benghazi. Leaving his large family at home, Silva is a security contractor for the American diplomatic compound and not-so-secret CIA annex. Silva works with a competent team of former military men, who are supervised by a boss with a Napoleonic complex.

The day of Sept. 11, 2012 starts off quietly, but Ambassador Stevens and the security team are advised to keep a low profile on this sad anniversary. As the sun begins to set, terrorist thugs begin encroaching upon the diplomatic compound. It is a subtle movement at first, but by sundown, barbaric intentions are revealed.

13 Hours tells a compelling story that is nuanced by the fog of war. Director Michael Bay uses many cinematic techniques that can trigger an emotional reaction. At the start of the battle, there is use of some frantic editing. As the battle rages on, there is some fantastic cinematography that is presented with concise visual clarity.

Best known for his comedic performances, Krasinski reveals more depth as an actor in this film. The actor’s ensemble is understated, capturing the fraternal culture of soldiers in the foxhole. Bay provides subtle moments for these men, showing moments of humor in the face of dread. This film provides an emotional wallop.

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