145 Min. | Drama – History – War | December 2001
IMDB Rating: 7.7
Director: Ridley Scott
Staring: Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore
Black Hawk Down Review: When talking about war movies, there are many great ones that immediately spring to mind. Since the 70’s, three of them have formed a bit of a holy trinity, Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, and Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. These three movies have set the bar for all other war movies that have come along since then. When it was announced that Gladiator director, Ridley Scott, would be adapting Mark Bowden’s book, Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, filmgoers knew that they would be in for a treat. Needless to say, Ridley Scott has made the ultimate war movie with Black Hawk Down. Unlike some war films that temper the battle with slower character-building sequences, you have to wait only thirty minutes for the Rangers’ mission to go into effect.
In Black Hawk Down, the action doesn’t stop for the next two hours, as the rest of the movie is filled with flying bullets, explosions and bloodshed. The fighting is so chaotic that it is hard to follow the action and tell what is happening, at times, and it becomes almost too easy to become desensitized to the violence. By the third time someone yells “RPG’s!” though, the entire audience knows to duck and cover their ears. While the American soldiers go in with a solid plan, it doesn’t take long for panic to set in, and pretty soon, you’re not sure which side is more disorganized. Black Hawk Down is amazing to watch what seems like thousands of extras playing the Somali militia swarming over the soldiers, and the action and camerawork is reminiscent of a video game as the soldiers try to escape their precarious situation through the streets of Mogadishu. As the movie progresses, the tension continues to build as the grim and unrelenting hopelessness of the situation sets in both for the soldiers and the viewer.
It’s pretty amazing how much has been made of the 19 downed American soldiers when over 1000 Somali men, women, and children were killed during the raid. While Black Hawk Down is clearly weighed towards the American perspective, can’t imagine how it must have felt to be the guy who gets to play “Dead Somali with a Gun #354”. In a genre that has brought out some of the best in directors and actors, Black Hawk Down is easily the best war movie ever made, and it has replaced A Beautiful Mind as candidate for Best Picture and Director. Overall, Black Hawk Down is worth to watch.