The attack on the American Embassy in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, by Islamic militants is a tragedy. The attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, by the Japanese military is also a tragedy. Michael Bay directing two films about two deadly attacks is a lesser, but unwarranted, tragedy.
“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” tries – and fails – to condense the Benghazi attack to “us vs. them” with “them” being Islamic terrorists. But according to the film, Islamic terrorists translates to any adult male that was in Benghazi (a city with a population of more than 630,000 people) at that time.
When former Navy SEAL Jack Da Silva (John Krasinski) takes a job as a security consultant for the American embassy, he discovers that the city of Benghazi is one of the most dangerous places in the world.
There’s a scene where a few men stop Da Silva and his colleague Rone Woods (James Badge Dale) and demand to see their papers. It doesn’t take long before guns are pointing at one another Mexican stand-off style. If that seems ridiculous that’s because it is.
Bay’s trademark explosions, which are framed in an over saturation of beauty shots and cut together in pure helter-skelter, made the experience of watching “13 Hours” like peering into the fever dreams of Fox News. Both experiences are upsetting.
Recently Bay said in an interview with Fox that he “avoided the politics” when making “13 Hours.” This is only a demonstration of his lack of insight from being blinded by giant cartoon-like dollar symbols. Releasing a film about a hot-button topic like the Benghazi attack is politics.
“13 Hours” is a film that came out during the worst moment possible. As Islamophobia continues to grow and the wingnuts continue to look for justification for their bigotry, a film like “13 Hours” comes out and gives them something to point to. In short, “13 Hours” shouldn’t have been made.
But it was made, and so audiences must suffer through it the same way one suffers through an enema. If I had a choice, I’d choose the enema.
“13 Hours” is currently playing at the UA Arden Fair 6 and Regal Natomas Marketplace Stadium 16 theaters in Sacramento, CA.