Black Hawk Down
Bottom Line: Realistic but emotionless and often mindless display of war.
“Only the dead have seen the end of war.” –Plato
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Eric Bana, Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Gabriel Casseus, Hugh Dancy, Josh Hartnett, Kim Coates, Sam Shepard, Tom Sizemore, William Fichtner
Ridiculously violent misfire chronicles the First Battle of Mogadishu, on October 3rd and 4th of 1993. Over one hundred well-experienced U.S. soldiers enter Somalia, with an intent to capture Mohammed Farrah Aidid, the self-proclaimed president of the third-world, famine-stricken country. The UN has approximated that this task should take no more than an hour, so the U.S. elites are unprepared for a longer happening–even the 22+ hour mission that this ends up becoming, after they are pitted against armed Somalis.
Sir Ridley Scott has had a number of classic films on his record, so one would think he would be able to direct a better war film than this. I’ll admit, Scott does wonderfully at making BLACK HAWK DOWN a realistic film. This picture is filled with unrestrained, graphic violence, complemented by shaky cinematography and fast-paced action, all in the name of being a film that represents war to the point at which it is both convincing and difficult for the viewer to watch. But after thirty minutes have passed, the plot seems to disappear. All it seems to be for a while is a festival of graphic violence, quick action, and shaky camerawork. Just a little simple reminding of the actual plot would have done a lot. Furthermore, BLACK HAWK is quite similar to what Michael Bay did with PEARL HARBOR, that same year: transforming what could be a thoughtful, saddening war movie, into a mindless, carelessly violent action fest. Not even the musical score makes the slightest leap to making this an emotionally agonizing portrayal of war. I wouldn’t be surprised if those who fought in this mission were offended by the fact that Scott failed to represent any emotion in the events. It’s all a matter of inferring that it was sad, which in and of itself…is sad. No, the acting wasn’t all that great, either. Ewan McGregor, Eric Bana, and Josh Hartnett all must have been as bored performing in the film as I was watching it. But do you really need great performances to propel a carnage-happy celebration of ruthless action?