Speechless. Angry. Proud to be an American. Those were my immediate and initial thoughts after viewing Michael Bay’s latest film “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.”
While thousands gathered at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, TX for the premiere with Michael Bay, John Krasinski and the real-life heroes and co-authors of the book on which the movie script was based (13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Happened in Benghazi) my husband and I sat down with friends and over 500 members of the media for a press screening on the Paramount lot in Hollywood.
Full disclosure: I am a massive lover of war movies, truth or fiction. I feel that film can be a powerful tool to portray the real-life stories of everyday American heroes. This film does that. It provides the storyline of what happened, not only in the 13-hour attack on the US Consulate and the secret CIA Annex but also what happened in the month leading up to the clearly-orchestrated attack.
When the film was finished there was light applause but I do not think that was because of bias or leftist leanings of the audience. It was because even though I thought the film was better than Act of Valor, Lone Survivor and on par with American Sniper the emotions and thoughts running through my head were paralyzing.
The acting was fine; the storyline accurate. The action was intense, and not in the cheesy Transformers style typical of Bay; it was much more in the vein of classic war films such as Saving Private Ryan or Black Hawk Down.
For conservatives: you will watch this film and say, “Why didn’t they say more?” There was a lot of information the producers, director and screenwriter could have included. But you will also think it is a great film and want every single American voter to watch.
There was a brief part of the film where actor playing Ambassador Chris Stevens is writing in his journal about security concerns but at no other point does the film talk about the over 600 times the real-life Ambassador requested that the Hillary Clinton State Department send him added security. There was no mention of Hillary at all in the film and only one mention of “POTUS” being briefed.
There were numerous times in the film where it was clear that requests for help were being ignored. It felt as if there were 20+ people on the phone at all times asking for help while the viewer was left wondering, “What the hell were people on the other end saying?” because the calls went unanswered; no help came.
A couple of sarcastic lines garnered laughs but stung with truth, such as a reference by Kris “Tonto” Paranto saying that former Gitmo prisoners do not return to terrorist activities. There was also a reference of the news “back home” talking about a protest gone wrong and a State Department security personnel saying, “We didn’t see any protests.”
The film is a good and accurate timeline of what happened and when it happened; the viewer gets a great glimpse into the incredibly sacrificial and brave brotherly love these contractors had for one another. My biggest critique of American Sniper was that it did not adequately touch on the closeness of the SEAL (and SpecOp) community. 13 Hours does that and does it well.
One of the three times I cried was when the film portrayed these contractors making calls home. You see that they are human. You see that they have fears. You see that they have loves. Even in the midst of death and destruction and fighting against evil you see the humanity and reality of the situation.
You are constantly reminded of the threats that operators, SpecOps and military have to deal with in the field. The most insane aspect of the film that is accurately portrayed is how these Americans had no idea who friend or foe was.
For liberals: This is a good film. It is a good “war movie.” If you liked and praised Hurt Locker then you should like and praise this movie. But, if you’re a liberal you’re probably already a shill for Hillary Clinton and will think that this was an intentional hit piece by a producer who has never delved into politics and a television (now silver screen) star who is married to a woman who said after the first GOP debate that she regretted becoming an American.
If Emily Blunt watches her husband’s wonderful performance (I mean, I was like “Where is Jim from The Office and who is this kick ass dude?”) then she will learn that many of us are proud to be Americans not just because of our love of America’s founding principles but because of the real-life heroes this movie portrayed and their willingness to follow God’s law, not man’s law, while doing everything they possibly can to save their fellow Americans.