I’ve been to movies where the audience left excited, happy, sad, bored… but 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, is the first movie I’ve been to where the audience was angry at the end of the movie.
And they weren’t angry at the Libyans who attacked our outposts in Benghazi, Libya.
They left angry at the US… or more accurately, the lack of response and assistance from the United States, as US Ambassador Chris Stevens and US personnel were under attack.
The political motivation behind US inaction during the crises is glaringly absent in the film.
But the talk as people left the theater was all political.
If you support President Obama and think of Hillary Clinton as an honest, competent, leader that would make a great president… I suspect you will be very uncomfortable with the conversations people are having as they walk out of 13 Hours.
As for the movie itself: It’s long, nearly two and a half hours… and it starts out slow. A third of the way into it, I was convinced it was going to bomb.
When it does get going though, it’s intense.
It’s gory too. Think along the lines of Saving Private Ryan, though not as big and it doesn’t pull at the heart strings as much.
In fact, that was a bit of an oddity about 13 Hours. You don’t really feel a major connection with any specific character. When main characters die, you feel the drama, but there were few tears from the audience. It’s sad, but not more than a half a tissue sad.
The early screening I attended as packed. When it ended, the audience kind of wanted to clap. A few did, but it was awkward. The mood was too somber and angry for cheering.
The feeling that the US betrayed our principles and abandoned our heroes in their time of need was palpable.
As I was leaving, I asked several people if they would recommend the movie to others.
Every single one enthusiastically said “YES!”
But I get the feeling they would recommend it not because it’s a good movie (and it is), but more because they feel it is an important story that needs to be told and understood.
Last thought: Yes – the text at the end of 13 Hours that tells what happened to these people afterwords goes way to fast. Along with the political chat, I heard quite a few complaints about that on the way out of the theater.
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, officially releases on Jan 15, but many theaters will beginning screening it on the evening of Jan 14.
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