Tuesday, August 16, 2016

13 Hours, Michael Bay, 2016

If not for the final action scene that drops the procedural tightness in favour of lurid nightmare visions which are interesting in their own right but completely break the rather meticulously established mood of desperate professionalism, this would probably be my favorite Bay film. For almost two hours, military geek Bay keeps music video Bay covered, confining him to providing a lot of impressionistic detail and an astonishing lighting scheme. Otherwise this is really all about the interplay of topography, weaponry, and cinematopgraphy, the purest war movie I've seen in a while. (In at least two scenes, the american tough guys point out to each other, more puzzled than enthusiastic, that their enemies really don't understand the concept of night vision.)

13 HOURS isn't as good as THE HURT LOCKER or ZERO DARK THIRTY, maybe also not as good as AMERICAN SNIPER, but still Bay's quite suitable for a journalistic approach like this, because it allows him to use bodies and to a limited degree even psychology in the same functionalist and spectacular way he uses rifles and grenade launchers.

(Hard to judge its politics from outside the us, as this is obviously tailor made to play into right wing talking points. Aside from that I don't see why this should be more problematic than most other recent American mainstream films set in the arab world.)

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