Knowing the outcome of this disastrous debacle in no way diminishes the intensity of Michael Bay’s film based on the book (“13 Hours: the Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi”) by Mitchell Zuckoff; sensationalized depiction of the days leading up to September 11, 2012, in little-known Benghazi, Libya.
Driving through the circuitous, dusty streets the soldiers are met with palatable hatred by the citizens, longing to be rid of the unwanted interlopers, “settlers”. Ultimately successful, with deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens (politically-perfect, Matt Letscher); almost four years later the gauzy, warped suppositions, tenaciously taunt the US government, politicians; spewing obfuscations, platitudinous jargon in an attempt to cloak their ineptitude with jejune reason. America’s villainess role is highlighted, never excused in the pulsating, gut-wrenching scenario.
Superb casting of the six security contractors (John Krasinski, James Badge Dale, Pablo Schreiber, David Denman, Dominick Fumusa and Max Martini) working with C.I.A. (Global Response Staff), whose chief is the lily-livered, indecisive “Bob” (wonderfully wimpish, David Costabile). Bay humanizes the warriors, devoted family men, but leaves unanswered the magnetic pull of warfare, the recidivism; “The Hurt Locker” and “American Sniper” probe deeper into the psyche of the returning soldier, but an adequate explanation remains subjective, enigmatic.
Bay infuses “13 Hours” with the mythology of writer/lecturer Joseph Campbell (1904-1987); quoting twice from “The Power of Myth”: “the demon that you can swallow gives you its power…..; heaven and hell are within us, and all the gods are within us.” “13 Hours” unites the feverish, cacophonous, hellish battleground with the steadfastness and purity of the mission-driven soldiers.
Campbell also believed that “the seat of the soul is there, where the inner and outer worlds meet”. “13 Hours” leaves one ruminating on the status of the world in general and its blighted soullessness.
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!