In 2012, a group of soldiers found themselves trapped in one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Trying to fight their way out against increasing odds, they showed real courage to survive.
This film is loosely based on the book about this event, but doesn’t seem to have any of the real charm and character focus as the story deserves. The film’s central character is Jack Da Silva, played by John Krasinski, who is struggling to balance being on the battlefield with seeing his family. Near the start of the film, he finds out that his wife is pregnant again. During all the commotion and violence, the character seems to take unreasonable decisions without thought for his family at home. The character should be one that the audience cares about, and wants to survive, but the clunky dialogue and overwhelming battles doesn’t leave screen time to delve into the characters and show the human nature of war.
At times, the soundtrack completely overwhelms the situation to the point where it is difficult to hear what the character is saying. In emotional scenes, the music completely overpowers the moment to the real detriment of the film. These emotional scenes should be the cornerstones of the film and hold it together as we experience a small part of the events of that night, but they seem clunky and forced rather than an accurate portrayal of soldiers in war. At almost 2 and a half hours long, the film feels baggy and the action scenes become cliché filled and repetitive with no real let up of the action to collect your thoughts.
The accuracy of the film has been called into question, particularly with regard to an early ilitary decision not to intervene when the first attack takes place. In particular, this scene seems overly dramatized. The reactions of the main soldiers towards the Libyan response teams often feels rude and at times calls into question the motivation behind including such scenes.
These soldiers deserve the upmost respect for surviving in such harsh circumstances and getting home to the families. This, however, sacrifices all of that for big action pieces.
Dir: Michael Bay
Scr: Chuck Hogan, Mitchell Zuckhoff
Cast: John Krasinski, Pablo Schreiber, James Badge Dale
Prd: Michael Bay, Erwin Stoff
DOP: Dion Beebe
Music: Lorne Balfe
Runtime: 124 mins
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is availble on Digital now and out on DVD on the 13th June.