73: Black Hawk Down

Black Hawk Down – January 18, 2002
Starring: Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Jason Isaacs, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana
Written by: Ken Nolan
Directed by: Ridley Scott

The plot: “123 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis.” – IMDB

My thoughts: You might be thinking, “Kaitie, how did it take you over a decade to see Black Hawk Down?” and the only conclusive answer is “I don’t know.” I have no idea how it took me so long to see such a well-known film, by such a prominent director, and starring…everyone.

It was depressing and gory and I would have to imagine quite realistic. I have not been involved in war nor do I really know anyone who has served in the military, but still, it seemed believable to me.

The film was based on a book which was based on a true story about the U.S.’s raid on Somalia to capture warlord Aidid and because of this, the characters are “real”. I would have to assume that some – if not a lot of – liberties were taken in putting these characters on screen. At the same time, they all seemed so genuine and for lack of better word, normal. There was no hyperbolic, speech-y captain nor was there an underdog that saved the whole day. It was just all of these guys trying to stay alive and complete their mission.

The film was chaotic with a few moments of tense calm (that’s a total oxymoron but I’m not sure how else to describe it) as I would assume war is. It seems like in a lot of action movies it’s just non-stop firing and blowing shit up for 15 minutes and then a retreat followed by one big attack. In Black Hawk Down, the teams split up and went off on other little missions (rescuing the black hawk pilots). There was a lot of waiting around and regrouping.

For as many characters as there were, they did a pretty impeccable job of giving them all personality and a chance for us to get to know them just a little bit. There isn’t really a “main character” per se. Everyone is pretty equal despite their ranks.

I really enjoyed Black Hawk Down as most people did 10 years ago. It was honest and gruesome and yeah, I might have gotten a little teary at the end. I honestly can’t even think of any drawbacks. Maybe just don’t watch it if you’re in a depressed mood. It probably won’t be an effective “pick-me-up.”

Stars: 5/5

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