Review: 13 Hours
Cinema: 13 Hours (2016)
On September 11th 2012 in Benghazi, Libya, the American Embassy was attacked by Islamic militants. One mile away was a CIA compound where 6 contracted soldiers broke rank and went to assist the American ambassador and his minimal security. The same six men then had to defend the CIA compound from a sustained attack while the United States decided whether or not to assist the situation… Michael Bay’s masculine, masterpiece ’13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi’ tells their story.
Seriously, this is right up there with the finest contemporised ‘war’ films and may even supersede some of them; American Sniper, Lone Survivor and Black Hawk Down immediately spring to mind and ’13 Hours’ slots in right along with those classics. Bay IS capable of truly brilliant film making. I’m a HUGE fan; Pain and Gain, The Rock, Bad Boys II are incredible examples of how big budget Hollywood can really work. Where 13 Hours tops these films is not only the true story angle but the rare maturity Michael Bay infuses this film with. Set over the few days before the attacks and the attack itself, the film runs at around 2 hours 20 minutes, but at no point are you checking your watch. Tension, technical excellence and brilliant performances keep this film barrelling along.
The six soldiers aren’t played by big names from the big screen but by actors probably better known from their TV work. John Krasinski (The Office) is our joint lead along with bit part master James Badge Dale (The Departed, Iron Man 3) play real life operators Jack Silva and Tyrone Woods. You get a real sense of history and friendship between the two. Next to them is Kris ‘Tanto’ Paronto played by Pablo Schreiber, otherwise known as ‘Pornstache’ from ‘Orange Is the New Black’. Schreiber literally steals the film for me, he has the best lines and adds the much needed humour. He has the charisma and presence of a man who should go on to bigger things. Also worth a mention is Max Martini (Pacific Rim) as Mark ‘Oz’ Geist. All our men are pumped up and bearded; it’s a sausage fest in the best way. Not many directors can pull this shit off in my book. This is the real thing. The violence is there but never gratuitous. If you fire an RPG it may bounce off something before it explodes, if you get hit by a 50.cal bullet you lose a limb…or your top half of your body. War sucks.
The great thing about Michael Bay is that he cuts no corners with authenticity. His use of military technical advisors is second to none. Little touches all over the screen nail this film down as a classic of the genre. His usual shaky cam action scenes are present as well as close-ups of the American flag, but don’t let that put you off. This is closer to ‘Black Hawk Down’ than ‘Pearl Harbour’.
With real heart, a sense of brotherhood, stunningly shot and brilliantly acted ’13 Hours’ deserves a massive audience but for some reason (lack of star power?) NOBODY IS TALKING ABOUT THIS FILM!?!?!? GO SEE IT. IT’S MAN TIME.
Review by Ramrod (co-host of 60 Minutes With)