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Black Hawk Down

Black Hawk Down


Title - Black Hawk Down
My Admission - $8.00
One Line Review -

It's A Relentless Atrocity.


Review - My god, I hated this movie.  I wanted to leave the theater before it was over; a rarity for me.  Why?...You ask.  Well that really seems to be the question here...Why? Let me take care of the business end first.

Mogodishu, Somalia...1993. The U.S. is part of a U.N. lead task force hoping to stop a famine of 'Biblical' proportions weighed on the Samalians by Mohamed Farah Aidid, the leader of the Habr Gidr clan.  The U.S. sends a group of elite forces to Somalia in order to capture Aidid.  Their mission would last 3 weeks.  After 6 weeks with no results, the U.S. got impatient.  They devised a plan to kidnap 2 of Aidid's lieutenants (in order to draw him out of hiding...Sound familiar?) in the Bakara Market in Mogodishu.  An area hotly controlled by Aidid's militia. The maneuver goes terribly wrong.

Famed director Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator) IS 'the man'.  This guy is amazing and Black Hawk Down demonstrates Ridley's ability to direct as tight and sporadic a film as last year's Oscar winner, Steven Sodebergh (Traffic).  And like Traffic Ridley's cast is rather broad in scope and includes a large list of actors you know by sight if not by name.  Here's some of note:

Josh Hartnett (Pearl Harbor, 40 Days & 40 Nights), Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting, The Phantom Menace) William Fichtner (Armageddon, The Perfect Storm) Jeremy Piven (Rush Hour 2, Serendipity) Eric Bana (Ang Lee's: The Hulk) Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting, Pearl Harbor) Richard Tyson (Kindergarten Cop) Jason Isaacs (The Patriot, Sweet November) Tom Sizemore (Heat, Pearl Harbor) Sam Shepard (The Right Stuff, Thunderheart, Swordfish) Ron Eldard (TV's Men Behaving Badly, E.R., When The Trumpets Fade) Orlando Bloom (The Fellowship of the Ring)

Now, Black Hawk Down is not a nice film.  It's literally a snapshot in time, and what you see is what you get.  No deep or thoughtful characterizations.  There are some but this is the first film I can remember seeing where a lack of characterization actually helps deliver the film's required punch.  Never fear, there's plenty of emotional connection it just isn't what you expect.  It's internal and completely personal.  It made me sick.

Experiencing it, I found myself screaming, "I Want Out!...Turn It Off, I've Had Enough!"  Looking back, I have convinced myself that this was Ridley's true intention.  This film isn't a testament to some esteemed greatness served by the soldiers of our country.  It's the shocking image of murder (someone's sons and daughters) packaged nicely on celluloid and clearly displayed, in my opinion: Not for your entertainment.  19 American soldiers, 1000 Somalians, countless survivors, all in 24 hours...Who am I supposed to feel bad for?

In 1989 Patrick Sheane Duncan directed a little know film called '84 Charlie Mo-Pic'.  It's the story of a military cameraman assigned to film a 7-man reconnaissance team in the jungle of Vietnam.  The film is viewed entirely through the lens of this cameraman (it's akin to The Blair Witch Project in its presentation, without so much camera shaking).  It's an amazing film and holds it's own against Platoon. One reviewer commented on how Black Hawk Down conveys essentially the same feeling of being "right smack in the middle of the shit". And I agree, Ridley's done an amazing job of delivering you right into hell.  And he's done an even better job of making you want out.

So why?  Why make this movie?  Why share in such a senseless episode?  The film boasts some discussion about Why?  Why do you do it?  Why do you want to be "in the middle of the shit"?  Some say, "they want to make a difference".  Others say, "It's about the guy next to you." And more still say, "You'll never understand."  Me, I don't want to understand and you'll never convince me that my life is somehow lessened by understanding's omission.


Movie Information

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Turn Down The Lights, Turn Up The Sound.

Matthew Gilbert © 1999-2015 All Rights Reserved

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