13 Hours

At the moment when the men defied their superior’s order, I burst and I mean burst into tears.  For I don’t know how long – maybe 15, 20 minutes – I could not stop sobbing.  Fortunately the movie was so loud at that point the other audience members could not hear me.  My row of seats may have been pounding with me, though.  I had to pound to keep my heart safe from beating out of my chest.  Hillary’s doctors should advise her not to see this movie, for I do not think she could live through it.  I was not even sure if I would live through it.  For a while I was quiescent again but when one guy pulled out the photograph of his kids right before he dove back into the thick of it, I broke out again.  I could not contain myself nor did I,  nor do I have a word for what I felt, what I saw.  All I know is that the true ensemble of the fighting man – never to abandon a fellow warrior – came at me so profoundly that I was heaving aloud with the awareness of it.

Ensemble.  So who was the protagonist?  Ensemble is the protagonist.  Did these men change in the course of the movie?  I pondered that very question about Leonardo di Caprio in “The Revenant”:  did he really change?  I wanted to like Revenant, so I concluded that Leonardo kept going up up up the scale of impossibility so that we could almost say yes, he did change, for what happened to him was beyond belief and then beyond that, and still he survived because he had to balance the scale of justice.  The bear was nothing compared with what he had to overcome later.  So yes, I said to myself:  Leonardo changed by climbing up, up then more up the scale of courage and righteousness.  Then at the end he could be at peace.  I thought Revenant was big.  Then I saw “13 Hours.”

So what about these men, these warriors, this incredible force of mental and physical musculature that we see in “13 Hours.”  They acted in the belief system that we leave no man behind.  They acted in the belief system that we protect one another.  They acted in the belief system that the country that supports its warriors is the country that makes sense to support and defend.

Then, they knew.  No one was coming.  And still they acted that way.   That was the change:  it went off the scale. There is no scale.

I would say that I have not 1 100th of their courage.  I sobbed all the way out of the theater to my car.  I got in and cried to the parking pay station.  I abandoned my plan to visit the gym afterwards … I could face nothing but aloneness at home, so I was heading home.  I calmed down for a while, but when I saw the two guys sleeping on the concrete under the 101 bridge, sobs burst forth again.

What are we doing?  What are we doing?  I imagine that if I were a native of Libya I might feel the same about “my side” and its … well … I’ll stop there.  100,000 Libyans in the street honored the commemoration of the “Ambo’s” life and death a week later and said that this ambush did not speak for them.

Was there a stand down order or was there not?  We do not know.  The only thing that we do know is that this was huge.  Huge.  Huge.  There is no way that US intelligence – which, with its surveillance technology – did not know at the time that this was huge, this was war.  I thought with “Sergeant Ryan” that a movie could hardly contain 27 minutes of one battle scene – but it did.  Then I thought with Eastwood’s “Letters from Iwo Jima” that a movie could not better depict war than it did.  And then “American Sniper” pinned me to my seat for quite a while after curtain.  But now I must say that “13 Hours” tops those movies 13 times over.  No, 100 times over.

Is that a recommendation?  I cannot recommend this movie to everyone because I don’t think everyone will live through it.  It is very hard to take.  Just hearing about it, however, I hope that more and more people will stop to read up about this tragic episode of human history and not just yawn and say, “Oh, that?  Isn’t that resolved?  Isn’t that just political b.s.?”  This was huge – and man’s muscle, grit, and courage is astounding.  Simply astounding. Simply astounding.  I worship humans and their strength and courage upon seeing this.  I am astounded that Paramount Pictures and Michael Bay dared to make this movie for it does not fit with the stereotype we have of Hollywood’s left leaning position.  Perhaps we are returning to the true strength of movies to make money based on the telling of amazing stories, politically correct or not:  stories that need to be told.

This is huge.  If you have a heart condition, remember to take your meds with you.

  • Christine OBrien

    Good overview. I would like to see it, but feel I would not be able to make it through emotionally.

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