Saturday, January 19th, 2019

13 Hours

Posted on February 01, 2016 in Arts & Culture, Movie Reviews
By USM Free Press

By John Rocker

13 Hours is a biopic of the events that occurred in Benghazi, Libya in September of 2012 and is directed by Michael Bay. For those that didn’t know what happened in Benghazi, a United States diplomatic compound and acovert, at the time, CIA annex were attacked. The story focuses on the CIA contractors (all formerly involved in the Armed Forces) as they do what it takes to survive the horrible scenario they were in.

Considering what Michael Bay did with Pearl Harbor, in which he created a fake love triangle story and scattered the events around the love story as the main plotline, there was some skepticism if 13 Hours would have a more accurate portrayal. However, this film, unlike Pearl Harbor, does the job of portraying the events well and actually pays respect to those involved. This includes showing the true brutality of the situation. In the reality of the situation in Benghazi,there were people that died,there were people that were injured and there was bloodshed and loss on both sides. This film doesn’t hold back on any of these aspects.

That being said, there are a lot of ‘Michael Bay-isms’ such as some extreme low angles, American flags, and of course, explosions. Some things were tamer than others, like the explosions were used to show the story and that’s understandable.

There is also a lot of shaky camera work. It’s not overdone, but it becomes more of a nuisance to the audience watching after a while. The performances were good, especially John Krasinski and James Badge Dale. They had the most screen time out of all the actors, so they were able to develop their characters the most in the cast. That being said, the character development was rather lackluster.

The movie shows that the characters have something to fight for to motivate them, such as  their families back home, but that’s all that it is shown. Nothing is really elaborated on from th and it keeps the viewer emotionally distant from the character. This is only applying to what’s happening IN the movie, not the actual scenario. A loss of life is tragic on it’s own, but in the context of the movie, with the characters not being developed, it backfires.

The other thing that has to be mentioned is the pacing, which is a bit inconsistent. When the film is tense and the action sequences are happening, the film keeps itself at a nice pace and keeps the audience engaged. When the film tries to slow down and build character, that’s when it suffers, because the development is lackluster, the scenes feel like they bog down the movie. Sure, one can argue that it’s just breathing time for the viewers, but this movie is nearly two and a half hours. A little bit of trimming could have gone a long way to make the film more focused and concise.

Overall, 13 Hours is a good film, but it does have some flaws. This is definitely one of Michael Bay’s better films in recent years. The main point was to respect the story and those that were involved, and in that case it was a success. If you’re into war movies or have any interest in this film, then you’ll enjoy this film. Otherwise, it can wait. Recommendation: Wait Until DVD/Netflix.

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