Attending this screening I was not expecting much. Michael Bay films are typically 90 percent action, 5 percent story and 5 percent character development. I was also worried this may a politically driven rant. However, I was completely surprised, impressed really, with the way this film was present and the story it tells. This is easily my favorite Michael Bay film. Albeit it’s a short list, but this was a solid piece of work.
The story focuses on a six-man security team who held their ground at a CIA Annex after the Benghazi terrorist attack. The film shows the number of failures that lead to the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, but it avoids laying blame anywhere specifically. It also highlights the heroism of the security team but not in an (America F--- YEAH! way) overly in-your-face way.
This movie shows a timeline of events and highlights the human cost of war. We see both sides of the conflict suffering. Previous films of this nature only paint the Americans as heroes. There were the Libyan casualties and you feel for them just as much as you do for the security team.
This Michael Bay film takes a different approach to action. Explosions were muted so you could focus on the humanity of these people defending the CIA operatives. There was far more impact in these scenes than if he ramped up the action to 11. There was just as much care in the construction the scenes in-between each wave of attack. The down time in-between the fighting is just as engaging as the combat.
The performance of John Krasinski is by far the best on the screen. The role is for a departure from his normal fare but he wears this character like body armor. He is a natural and his performance feels as if he has been doing action films his entire career.
It’s refreshing to watch a film that focuses on the deeds of good men doing their duty without the specter of politics hovering over the film. I am sure that politicians will try and use this to their advantage but that would only cheapen the sacrifice of ones who fell in the defense of their fellow man.
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