An explosive telling of the interesting story and perspective on the events of Benghazi.
While the Benghazi story is politically complicated for several reasons, this movie moves away from all of that and into the realm of what it was like for the soldiers who experienced the events. The film follows six covert operators who were stationed in a secret C.I.A base while the U.S Ambassador to Libya was visiting nearby. Soon enough, everything that could go wrong does and it’s up to these six soldiers to be heroes. With no support for miles and miles, they had to endure wave after wave of enemy militants who they could scarcely distinguish from friendlies. This film could’ve easily been a cheap blockbuster, but it manages to do several things right.
Any movie depicting such a recent and controversial event that has been so prevalently covered in the news could easily be bogged down in the politics of it all. This is one of the few times where there is no better man for the job than Michael Bay. Mind you, this isn’t solely just a popcorn flick. Although you get the action, gunfire, and explosions that characterize pretty much everything Bay has done, you also get a telling look at the lives of the men in this movie, melding the dramatic and tense action with the sentimental little things, like their calls home to their kids. He also does a really good job of depicting the climate of Benghazi post Ghadafi, where it’s not exactly clear who’s on your side and who isn’t as well as the fact that those on opposing sides of this conflict are probably friends, or even neighbors. Most of all, Bay has made this movie thrilling and keeps you on your seat from beginning to end, guessing what comes next.
All of the leading and supporting roles were done really well. John Krasinski is a good lead and is capable of going from loving father to cold blooded killer at the drop of a hat. James Badge Dale, Max Martini, and the rest of the guys all have great chemistry together, but who stands out is Pablo Schreiber. His role as Tanto is certainly the standout performance from this film. His scenes questioning who’s who and highlighting the complexity of the situation from the viewpoint of a almost a simple regular person was very interesting. His mix of fear and anger and confusion was something to watch, especially towards the winding down of the film.
With all of this said, the film wasn’t perfect. At the end of the day, the script felt formulaic and derivative of other thrillers. Even though the script and Bay allot a decent amount of time to develop characters, none of their interactions feel very real or very personal, and as a result, you as a viewer don’t feel any real or personal connection to these characters. Their dialogue during phone calls back home feel plain and textbook rather than idiosyncratic and special. Sure you might like them and you may be rooting for them, but you don’t feel for them more than you would any brave soldier defending the country.
Given what he had to go on, I felt Bay did a proper and good job telling this story, not to say Chuck Hogan’s screenplay was bad, but it was more along the lines of an uninspired summer movie than the gripping story of six heroes. We get it, these guys are badass, but we’d also like to know that they’re human too. Either way, there’s something in this film for everyone and it gives a rather fair point of view on a controversial and current topic. Definitely check this one out if you’re looking for some awesome action.