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13 Hours a film about the attack on the Benghazi Embassy
Based on a true story
By now, if you haven’t heard of Benghazi, you have, in all probability, been living in a Spider hole since it occurred back on September 11, of 2012. The film is ostensibly about the events of that day when, in Benghazi, Libya when an American embassy as well as another U.S. compound approximately 1 mile away were both attack by Islamic militants, during the course of both of those attacks (which took place over some 13 hours) ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and Foreign Service Information officer Sean Smith along with a pair of CIA contractors, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty, were all killed during a coordinated attacks on both compounds on the. Both Woods and Doherty were former Navy SEALs.
13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi
The film itself is based on Mitchell Zuckoff's 2014 book 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi. Like the book, the film follows six members of a security team, that fight to defend the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi. While we have no intention of getting involved in any of the divisive partisan politics surround the attack on the embassy itself we do feel that it is important to point out that while the film claims to be a true accounting of the events surrounding the attack, the historical accuracy of the film has been criticized by some people (most specifically, at one point in the film the CIA station chief gives a “Stand Down” order to the CIA agents charged with defending the embassy. Some eyewitness accounts have claimed that such an order was never given.
13 Hours trailer
The beginning of the Assault
In the film, the actions of the events leading up to and during the attack are detailed in the showing how the agents went about their duties guarding the civilians from both the embassy and the compound. Ignoring for a moment the above-mentioned inconsistencies, the film does paint a very harrowing picture of how dedicated these men and women are and how dangerous their lives become when the attacks begin, their Libyan defenders desert them, and they are literally unable how to tell who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. At first things go by from day to day, beginning with the arrival of Jack Silva (Krasinski) to the compound and his acclimation to the daily routine of the compound.
Once the attack begins at the embassy the team mobilizes but are not fully authorized to leave their own compound and are held are ready while the station chief (David Costabile) attempts to secure local protection from the Libyans for the embassy. After 20 minutes where he is unable to receive confirmation, and the embassy is under attack, the CIA agents, without receiving permission from the station chief, simply take matters into their own hands and hustle the mile separating them from the embassy to rescue the Americans held there. Once there they manage to drive off the attackers and gatherer up everyone but Stevens and Smith who had locked themselves into a safe room. Unfortunately, the attackers had set fire to the building and (it was later discovered) that both had died of smoke inhalation.
Defending the Embassy
All through the night
Returning to the compound the Agents then set themselves to the task of repelling multiple assaults from the attackers throughout the night as the station chief and his staff attempted to secure a rescue. Miscommunications and numerous unhelpful locals helped delay reinforcements which finally arrived the following morning, but not until after a targeted mortar attack on the compound killing both Woods and Doherty. As the events of the night unfold on the screen before us, we can feel the desperation and dedication these men have in fulfilling their duty and defending their charges.
While some may say that it may be too soon to base a film on the events of that night, and others may argue as to the motivations and actual portrayal of the events that took place, we will say this. This was a very powerful film that — even though we knew the outcome from the outset — proved to be both compelling and informative. This was no mere piece of fiction where a lone hero stands off against a hoard of attackers mowing them down with aplomb while uttering pithy catchphrases. This was a retelling of an actual event where real people actually died and fought against overwhelming odds.