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Plot: Action/war drama based on the best-selling book detailing a near-disastrous mission in Somalia on October 3, 1993. On this date nearly 100 U.S. Army Rangers, commanded by Capt. Mike Steele, were dropped by helicopter deep into the capital city of Mogadishu to capture two top lieutenants of a Somali warlord. This lead to a large and drawn-out firefight between the Rangers and hundreds of Somali gunmen, leading to the destruction of two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters. This film focuses on the heroic efforts of various Rangers to get to the downed black hawks, centering on Sgt. Eversmann, leading the Ranger unit Chalk Four to the first black hawk crash site, Warrant Officer Durant who was captured after being the only survivor of the second black hawk crash, as well as many others who were involved. Runtime: 144 mins Release Date: 17 Jan 2002
One of the best war movies of all time (by shades033)
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.For whatever reason, <more>
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
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 <more>
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.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.
So many elements combine to make this movie good.. especially the music (by GridGirl03)
I've just got this movie on DVD - I did see it on the big screen and it blew my mind. Being from Australia we had practically no idea of what was going on in Somalia, and after seeing this movie and then reading the book - it is an eye opener.Now that I've watched it a few more times, I've noticed one thing with this movie. The music. Aside from the story and the cinematography and the editing which all are so well done that you feel like you are there with them; the music is a big contributor to the feel of the movie, and in my opinion, more so than in a lot of films.It is very <more>
subtle, it has taken me 10 viewings to even notice there was music there. It really helps create the atmosphere, going from lighthearted, almost fun in the beginning with various rock/pop tracks into deep and moving operatic styles as the story progesses into the war and further.It is the top of my list of favourites for many reasons, but I think mostly it is the way the whole package comes together to tell the story of what happened that makes it so good.Well worth viewing many times over.
one of the best ACCURATE war movies (by dberman-2)
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 <more>
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.
Okay, this one truly blows you !!! (by avg-thatisit)
Let me tell it straight- One of the greatest war movies ever created well, read it like - greatest war movies i have ever seen .There is everything that one expects from a war movie, everything in the right mix, and of course we have somethings that many other movies don't have. The most authentic style of story telling is one among that prominent highlights. You will see that solider hit with a bullet at the most unexpected time and in the most realistic manner. And this style helps to make that emotions of the cinema go deeper into you.That wonderful script forms the strong base, in <more>
the building up of this classic. To write a screenplay upon a true WAR incident like this one, is no easy job. Well ken Nolan has done it flawlessly. And to make a movie out of it is still harder and uh... Ridely Scott has done an awesome work. The whole complexity of a military raid, involving many different troops and hundreds of soldiers,is told with great clarity with no confusion and simplicity. Hats off to that. The background score also worth a mentioning- it is in some unknown language somalian? but still sounds meaningful! The emotion, the pain, the uncertainty, the fear everything connected with a war finds a place in the movie. The emotional side to the story is also worked up quiet nicely.By the end, while the troops are shown retrieving, you see an old man crossing the roads, holding a dead kid in his hands. There is no emotion to be seen in his face. You hear a music at the background. And with the single scene you are convinced about the brutality of a war. This single scene discloses the greatness of the cinema,reveals the talents of a film maker and greatness of an art form.
One of Scott's best films, but not quite on my top 10 list for 2001 (by Quinoa1984)
Ridley Scott seems to have a knack for high intensity in movie-making Gladiator, Blade Runner, Hannibal and Thelma and Louise among others come to mind and Black Hawk Down, a war picture set in Somalia, is another prime example of his knack. Black Hawk Down is a war movie that does something I haven't seen much or dare I say haven't seen at all which is not going directly into the battle scenes, but instead keeping the audience in check with how the soldiers are reacting and feeling and never diverging much from the action. It is a daring move by Scott.In "Down", a <more>
somewhat large group of soldiers are sent to the heart or mindless brain of Somalia to capture 2 lieutenants in regard to a civil war going on in the country that has taken 300,000 lives "it's not war, it's genocide" comments the major general played by Sam Shepard . At first notice it seems like they can get in and out of the mission in a few hours...but then everything goes wrong. The Somalians start a near unstoppable attack on the U.S. soldiers, shooting as many as they can and sneaking out from roofs and sides like cockroaches. It becomes a chaotic day and night for the soldiers as they try to stay alive while waiting for extra troops to come in to rescue them that could take time to get there.Outside of the couple of flaws in the film at the end it tells that 18 U.S. soldiers died in the attack but if you don't keep exact track it will seem more/the cinematography is alright however the editing cuts too much in the action and tension , Black Hawk Down is quite the war picture, one that will be memorable in years to come as the most accurate depiction of what went on with us in Somalia in 1993. Kudos to Scott and the cast; Ewan McGregor gets the highest praise from me if only for giving an amazing American accent. A-
A very American war story directed by an Englishman (by DesbUK)
I've been watching this movie and its accompanying extras on DVD this week for the first time and I thought is ironic that this very American war story should be directed and produced by an Englishman Ridley Scott and have a large number of British actors cast as the American servicemen Ewan McGregor, Jasson Issacs, Hugh Dancy, Euan Bremner, Orlando Bloom. I suppose it's the equivalent of Steven Spielberg directing a film about the Battle of Goose Green during the Falklands War and casting Americans as members of the Parachute Regiment.Scott's movie is quite brave in that it <more>
has no major stars and no central character unlike, say Tom Hanks in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN or Mel Gibson in WHEN WE WERE SOLDIERS . It's also largely free of the clichés of the genre: no soaring John Williams score accompanying shots of the flag fluttering in the sunlight; no scenes of the families back home. Instead its all about the logistics and the absolute horror of battle. This is the best combat footage since ZULU way back in 1964, a film which it resembles. In Scott's commentary description words, it is 'Anti-War but pro-military'.
It`s An Account , Not A Statement (by Theo Robertson)
I vividly remembered the news reports in October 1993 of the body of an American serviceman being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu following the battle there . A couple of years later my interest of the battle was rekindled by an edition of the BBC`s excellent history show TIMEWATCH that spoke to the survivors of " The biggest firefight involving American troops since Vietnam " , so when Mark Bowden released his book BLACK HAWK DOWN I opened the first page and found myself unable to put it down , and when I heard Ridley Scott was going to bring Bowden`s book to the big <more>
screen I was looking forward to seeing it I did enjoy the movie and have to take issue with some of the comments raised . First of all people complain about events and incidents being changed , I know how you feel but with any adaptation there`s bound to be bits condensed , the only real criticisms that can justified is that this film version totally negates the Somali point of view For those of you who haven`t read the book Mark Bowden writes his account in a similar subjective manner Corneilus Ryan wrote his trilogy - two of which THE LONGEST DAY and A BRIDGE TOO FAR were made into blockbuster movies - dealing with the last months of the war in Europe but Bowden`s book is an account of the battle of Mogadishu , that`s what it is - An account that doesn`t really concern itself with wider issues like politics or anti-war sentiment , so it seems churlish to complain about concepts like character development because that`s not what the story is about . I`ve also heard teenage girls complain that Orlando Bloom doesn`t get enough screen time and that they found it too violent . I`m sorry to hear that girls , hopefully next time you go to the cinema you might like to find out what you`re letting yourself in for . As for the rest of the screenplay it is accurate right down to the friction between the Deltas and the Rangers and the fact the Americans were actually rescued by a UN force composed of Malaysians and Pakistanis Ridley Scott rightly deserved an Oscar nomination with BHD . It`s his movie and he surpasses anything Spielberg achieved with the overrated SAVING PRIVATE RYAN . War is hell and this is a film of stark and haunting imagery of victims of famine , of mutilated soldiers and civilians . Both editing and cinematography are superb with many great scenes like the small stream of American soldiers walking up the street while on the other side of the houses a massive torrent of armed militiamen are walking in the same direction . My only real complaints of what`s on screen is Ewan McGregor`s awful American accent It`s especially so when you stop to consider that most of the cast aren`t played by American actors and Hans Zimmer score resembles that of most of his other movies , but I shouldn`t nitpick because I found this Scott`s best film alongside GLADIATOR
Excellent War Movie very realistic and true account of War (by ratnajit101)
I have seen many War movies and I am myself a very die hard Military Technology Enthusiast but I have hardly seen any movie which is as correct as this one. This movie simply gives you the feel of the actual action which went on during this battle. Everything from the way the soldiers moved, took their position, fired from covered positions, gave covering fire to each other, the use of Explosives including grenade and the way they captured strategic places even without much help from Air Force gave a true and absolutely realistic view of Real Time Urban Combat. It shows that Humvees are not <more>
impenetrable and the Soldier manning the machine gun post is extremely vulnerable from Roof Top Fire. Again the way Small Arms like the LMG & UMG were used were impressive and the tactics used by Special Forces to fend off attackers and secure the perimeter was true to all my knowledge. I appreciate the Director and actors to carry out this War Movie with such accuracy. If you are a Defence Enthusist this movie is must watch and if not then too one must watch it to understand is WAR is nothing less then HELL. Since this based on true incident let's pay respect to those who sacrificed their lives and salute those who have lived another day to fight.