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Tells it like it is
5/10 I'm not a fan of war movies usually,but when i sat down to watch Black Hawk Down,i couldn't turn it off.Heres a war movie which doesn't sugar coat.There is no crappy dialogue,no soppy love story tie ins,just the real deal,brutal battle scenes,the gruesome reality of war.Black Hawk Down is based on a true story,the bloody battle at Somalia and it leaves one drained.Its confronting,and exposes war in its true light-there's nothing glamorous to see.In two hours and a bit the viewer is able to imagine being there at the horrible battleground,and suffering like the soldiers did.It really makes you appreciate how lucky we are to be in a free country,relatively peaceful,and not having our lives threatened every second of the day.Everything about BHD is right; the setting of the film,the Somalians,the American soldiers going through hell,the brutality,the battle,the5 years ago
fatalities.Not for the faint hearted,or weak stomached,but a truly powerful,compelling motion picture.Ridley Scott takes the viewer on an imaginative journey through Black Hawk Down and appeals to our emotions.A brutal,yet bearable war film.
one of the best ACCURATE war movies
9/10 Unlike most of the war movies of our time, Black Hawk Down sticks to the facts about what happened in Mogadishu and doesn't romanticize the story. To support this observation, the viewer will notice that there is not really one main character. This shows that the film focuses more on what happened in Somalia instead of on the characters personality and/or struggles. Another important aspect of the film that makes it so great is the cinematography. Not only was the setting of the film accurate to the real thing, but the way that the movie was filmed is great because it seems like someone is running along the battle scene getting everything on tape. In addition, the film contains small aspects that one may not notice that are important to the situation in Mogadishu. For instance, the bullet shells that fell from the firing helicopter fell into one of the soldiers' vests, and he scrambled to get it out because of how hot it was. This small detail makes the movie that much more realistic. To conclude, Black Hawk Down is a great movie that is both an eye opener that sticks to the facts as well as a quality film. I recommend this movie to any war-film fan, as well as anyone that likes watching movies in general.5 years ago
One of the best war movies of all time
10/10 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.5 years ago
For whatever reason, I don't remember hearing much about the civil war in Somalia or about the Battle of Mogadishu on which Black Hawk Down is based. The plan seemed simple enough: the Army is sent into Somalia by the government to try to put an end to the Civil War. On October 3, 1993, a group of them were sent on a quick mission to capture the Somali warlord that had been running the country with an iron fist. It didn't take long for the operation to go completely FUBAR as two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down. Things went from bad to worse, as the Rangers found themselves surrounded by thousands of armed Somalis, whose only goal was to shoot any American soldier that invaded their space. After "stirring up the hornet's nest", the mission becomes a desperate attempt to maintain the Rangers motto, "Leave No Man Behind".
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. And 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. It's 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 the movie is clearly weighed towards the American perspective, I can't imagine how it must have felt to be the guy who gets to play "Dead Somali with a Gun #354".
Although characterization has always been used extensively in war movies to get the viewer to care about the characters, Black Hawk Down works better because, for the most part, the soldiers are personified as little more than grunts in the field doing the bidding of their superiors. At least the soldiers had their names taped to their helmets, so that this didn't have the problem of some war movies, where it's sometimes hard to tell who is who. Some of the best performances of the film come from Tom Sizemore as the gung-ho Lt. McKnight and Josh Hartnett, who plays the sergeant who leads the mission and feels personal guilt every time a man is lost. Sam Shepard also is excellent as Major General William Garrison, who sits back in the safe zone watching his doomed men be overpowered by the enemy. Eric Bana's part is small, but he has some of the best lines in the film, really driving home the point of why soldiers do what they do. Ewan McGregor's role is even more minor and insignificant, but his Trainspotting compatriot, Ewen Bremner offers the movie's little bit of comic relief.
As expected in a Ridley Scott film, the visuals and camerawork are stunning with the movie having a gray almost monochromatic look that makes the orange flames and red blood really stand out. As is typical in Scott's recent movies, there is lots of flying dust, rubble and debris mixed with slow motion shots of falling bullet casings and splattered blood. He also uses animals and non-military personnel well in some of the shots to show that this firefight is happening in the middle of a populated market district.
A big deal has been made out of the blood and gore in Black Hawk Down, but what is any true war movie without it? Though most of the graphic violence on display is not far beyond Saving Private Ryan, there is at least one visceral sequence that will make most people squeamish, unless they watch those operation shows on The Learning Channel for entertainment. Black Hawk Down is quite an achievement in creating a realistic representation of an event in recent history. Most of this movie leaves the viewer aghast and incredulous of what they're watching, and it's hard to believe that something like this could possibly happen. Technically, this movie is an amazing feat that gives the viewer one of the most realistic impressions of what it would feel like to be in the middle of a war, which makes the atrocities of the event seem all the more real.
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 my candidate for Best Picture and Director.
Rating: 10 out of 10
We were soldiers AND made a great film...
5/10 Black Hawk Down is first and foremost an immensely effective war film, but beyond that, its one of the most subtly differently made war films ever. Most war films usually either have a single hero through whom we see everything (i.e. Platoon), or present us with a squad of soldiers, all of whom are identifiable "types" (i.e. Saving Private Ryan). Black Hawk Down takes a different approach, instead giving us a very wide array of characters, none clearly singled out as a hero or type to command the audience's attention. The general effect is to create that feeling of a team army that George C. Scott so ardently expounded to us at the start of Patton. Furthering this feel of military professionalism, the film never cheapens itself by putting too much emotional weight into one moment. The plot moves ahead at a constant pace, cutting from location to location, without slowing down to focus too much on individual soldiers. The effect is of watching documentary footage of a real military operation gone wrong. While the effect of this scripting approach may produce some detachment among viewers on the first viewing, it makes the film all the better on subsequent viewings.5 years ago
And you'd better believe there will be subsequent viewings, because Ridley Scott has created one of cinema's all-time great pieces of eye candy here. The editing, cinematography, grading, scoring and visual effects all combine to leave a viewer just as drained upon leaving the theatre as these soldiers were on leaving Mogadishu. The intensity of this film's combat is easily equal to Saving Private Ryan, and leaves such pretenders as We Were Soldiers behind in the dust. Black Hawk Down lacks the former's emotional resonance, but unlike the latter, it thrives on the fact, creating a final product as mind-challenging in its construction as it is mind-blowing its visualization.
I Felt Like I Was in that Black Hawk
10/10 Black Hawk is quite simply the best movie of the year (2001) and the best war movie I have seen. It's an astonishing achievement that puts you right in the middle of the hellish horror faced by U.S. soldiers in Somalia in 1993. Every explosion startled me and filled me fear, every gunshot felt like it was whizzing right by me, every mistake or unforeseen event had me on the edge of my seat with stress and anger. I felt as though I had been transported to Mogadishu for 2.5 hours and plopped in the middle of the ambush faced by the 100 or so U.S. Rangers and Delta Force Troops as they set about to capture a Somalian warlord responsible for stealing Red Cross food shipments in his starvation-ravaged country. I really felt this movie, it was tangible to me; the confusion, the fear, the sense of dislocation and horror the soldiers must have faced. At the end I was emotionally and mentally drained.5 years ago
Ahh emotions, a subject of much debate where this movie is concerned, at least among some critics. While the reviews for Black Hawk Down have on average ranged from "Good to Excellent," there has been persistent and growing criticism over the lack of clearly drawn out characters that the audience could connect with, the lack of historical context, and the fact that movie is all action, with no heart, with no point-of-view. Well I think those who criticize the movie on these grounds, have completely missed the point of the movie, and are flat-out wrong. It is a movie told from the soldiers point-of-view, pure and simple. This is not a political movie, this is not a movie that needs cheap sentimentality or conventional emotional "hooks" for the characters. As much as I liked Saving Private Ryan, the overly sentimental framing device used by Spielberg, really annoyed me. It felt like he was pandering to the audience just a little bit, and it wasn't necessary. Well, there's no pandering here, no cheap sentimentality in Black Hawk Down, just the horrible, gruesome, disorienting reality of modern combat. I didn't know anyone who worked in the World Trade Center, but I was moved to tears by what happened to them on Sept. 11 and that's the way I felt today in the movie.
As far as I am concerned there was plenty of emotion in Black Hawk Down, plenty of "choke-up" moments, or moments when I was moved by the unbelievable courage shown by the soldiers as they faced an almost hopeless situation. I'm not sure how anyone could not be moved by seeing these 18-25 year-old men trapped in the horror of a Civil War that had no bearing on U.S. National Security. As portrayed by the amazing ensemble cast, these men (really boys in many cases) showed the full range of emotions that our soldiers must have gone through, not to mention the fear and confusion of their situation. To me the cast standouts were Josh Hartnett (boy has he got BIG FUTURE STAR written all over him) as Staff Sgt Eversmann and Australian actor Eric Bana as Sgt 1st Class "Hoot."
Black Hawk Down is a great movie, and it is an important movie. It is the story of courage and heroism against nearly insurmountable odds. What happened in Somalia was a foreign policy failure for the U.S., but the actions of the soldiers sent into battle that October day were anything but failure. That there were not more casualties is a credit to them and ultimately a credit to all of us.