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Black Hawk Down (2002)

Black Hawk Down
"I want to speak to my Agent over - Tony, listen bro, no more war movies, copy . . . copy?"

Starring:

Eric Bana
Josh Hartnett
Tom Sizemore
Ewan McGregor

Released By:

Columbia Tri-Star

Released In:

2002

Rated:

R

Reviewed By:

Adam Mast

Grade:

B+

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If there is one thing that films like Platoon and Saving Private Ryan try to tell us, it's that war is hell. This is certainly apparent in Ridley Scott's brutal and violent Black Hawk Down. This re-enactment of a failed mission to Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993 has no other purpose but to show us the absolute horror and chaos that is war. The set up and introduction of the film's many characters lasts about forty minutes. Once the helicopter goes down in Mogadishu, the bullets start flying as a military helicopter unit find themselves under major siege.

The cast includes many familiar faces. Tom Sizemore, William Fichtner and Ewan McGregor are solid as vastly different men with a common purpose. Josh Hartnett fares much better here then he did in the overbloated Pearl Harbor. And although he has an all-too-small role, Eric Bana (Chopper) emerges as the standout in this huge ensemble.

Make no mistakes. This is a director's movie. Forget the screenplay and the performances, Ridley Scott is the real reason that this video works as well as it does. Once he has the audience in his grasp, he refuses to let go. This video is ferocious in it's execution rarely giving the audience a moment's rest. This is an ugly, unflinching look at war in which men die without much of a warning.

Black Hawk Down works better as a film than Scott's recent Gladiator and Hannibal, but it still comes up shy of being the masterpiece he's capable of making (see Alien or Bladerunner). After all is said and done, I wanted more out of Black Hawk Down. It certainly doesn't sugar coat anything, but it also lacks an emotional core. I didn't feel like I knew these men and that keeps the picture from being all that it could've been. Of course, it could be argued that this video isn't really about the soldiers but war itself. In that sense, Scott's visceral assault on the audience delivers with unrelenting power.

:: zBoneman.com Reader Comments ::

Survivor

Survivor

I think that as the war begins to beat up again Iraq and more and more innocent young Americans return home in a flag-draped casket, that it would do us all some good to watch Black Hawk Down again. It should be mandatory, so that we as Americans aren't so complacent about what our country is doing in the world. Most people just click away from CNN when if suits their short attention span. I had a Brother die there, so I take it very personally.

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