Saturday, January 16, 2016

"13 Hours" Opened Thursday Night. Why Haven't You Seen it Yet?

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13 Hours, as most of you know, is the true story of a handful of individuals who showed uncommon bravery in the face of a colossal security clusterflock*, at a US diplomatic outpost, after the fall of Qaddafi in Libya. The movie doesn't go into the politics, most of which consisted in the (almost?) criminal refusal on behalf of the State Department to provide adequate security to, as the opening credits note, one of the twelve most dangerous spots on the planet.

If you listen closely, you can hear the faint voice of Barack Obama blathering about the wonderful opportunities for the Libyan people now that Qaddafi had been overthrown. Mercifully, I did not see any pictures of Hillary or hear the dreaded cackle, which, now that I think of it, might have sent their attackers fleeing in fear at the sound of it.

The story starts with the arrival of Jack Silva, played by The Office's John Krasinski**. A tense and potentially deadly situation arises on the streets of Benghazi before they can even reach the compound. Welcome to Benghazi! Jack is not an FNG***, as he has worked with some of the team in years past.

The CIA station chief "Bob", is portrayed as a snot nosed, condescending, officious prick who treats his security detail, mostly former Navy SEALS, as rent-a-cops. Not surprisingly, the former CIA station chief for Benghazi has said this is all 'baloney', but then, if even a fraction of it were true, I would vehemently deny it, too. Whose word are you going to trust? His, or the three men who risked their lives to save his bacon? Me, too.

The movie shows the very human side of these operators: interactions with their wives and kids, albeit long distance, the boredom, the bureaucracy, and when the balloon goes up, their professionalism and willingness to die for their friends and even some complete strangers, because that's what they signed up for.

The movie is well paced and suspenseful, and at times, like "24", gives the sense of taking place in real time. The suspense is heightened in that the bad guys do not wear any uniform or insignia and therefore look like anyone else. These men know all too well the consequences of shooting a "friendly", therefore you literally cannot tell friend from foe until they start shooting at you.

The battle scenes are intense and the down time in between them are very revealing of these men's character.The requests for help that go unanswered, surprising in the face of the number of people actually ready to respond, may cause one to pause.

I highly recommend this movie. The movie is accurate, according to (most of) those who were there. Director Michael Bay does the script, the story, and the heroes behind them justice. One caveat, you may not be able to leave the theater with a dry eye. Two ladies who saw the movie before I did, Tweeted: There was only one word when we left the theater: Speechless.

Five out of five stars.

*Hey! We are still PG-13 here!  But if that kind of language offends you, wait until 13 Hours comes out on network TV, and read the book while you wait. The language is not excessive, but realistic.
**Don't let that concern you. I was never a fan of The Office, but his acting is first rate here. He gives a very credible performance, showing wide range.
***F'ing New Guy, for the uninitiated

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