13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Working from the 2014 book by Mitchell Zuckoff, director Michael Bay offers a gripping account of what happened on the ground when the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of the title was overrun on Sept. 11, 2012, and four American lives, most prominently that of Ambassador Chris Stevens (Matt Letscher), were lost. John Krasinski plays the central figure in a band of security operatives - which also includes James Badge Dale, Max Martini, Pablo Schreiber, David Denman and Dominic Fumusa - hired to defend a top-secret CIA base. When the nearby diplomatic compound is attacked, with a visiting Stevens inside, and calls for help go unanswered, the men defy a wrongheaded official's (David Costabile) order not to intervene, and enter the fray. As it chronicles a modern-day Battle of the Alamo, the film is awash in sometimes bloody mayhem. To Bay's credit, however, the violence is never gratuitous, registering instead as an integral part of the events he's recounting. While unsuitable for casual moviegoers of any age, this drama's thematic significance and real-world resonance may make it an appropriate choice for at least some adults who would normally shun a picture showcasing so much armed conflict.

Watch out for: Constant graphic war violence, including gunfire, explosions, and gore, brief sexual banter, some profane and crude language.

Rated: L, limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling; MPAA: R, restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016