When a Black Hawks Goes Down, One Nation’s Heroes Rise Up
One mission, one hour, and then it’s over. It’s as simple as that. Well, if only war could be that simple, but it isn’t. Instead, these soldiers must scrap and claw for the next 12+ hours to see the light of day. Black Hawk Down, originally a book written by Mark Bowden, is directed by Ridley Scott and tells the true and suspenseful story of an attempt by US Army Rangers and a Delta Task Force to kidnap two important assistants of warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid in the city of Mogadishu, Somalia. In 1993, Aidid had been radically dictating the city of Mogadishu, starving the people of Somalia by controlling imports and exports. He declared war on remaining UN peacekeepers, the ones that hadn’t been withdrawn since they had been stationed there to help stabilize the ensuing civil war. In the movie, the aforementioned American forces, one of them being Ranger Chalk Four led by Staff Sergeant Matthew Eversmann (Josh Harnett), are sent to capture Aidid’s assistants to eventually reach the man himself, but what follows is an overnight standoff with the initial mission in hindsight and their survival as the number one priority. With the motto “no man left behind”, the American soldiers face the task of saving possible survivors from two crash sites where Black Hawk helicopters had fallen, before they can head back to base.
The film is climactic and powerful, touching the viewer on a personal level. With each yelp of agony, I continued to think to myself how although I was watching a hollywood version of the events that the film was based on, it was still something that happened in real life. I felt like I was watching war firsthand, and each death really hit home as if it was real. In reality, it is real, as young men have died and continue to die while fighting for our country. The actors display their emotions so vividly and authentically as they fight side by side and when they heal one another. Each actor plays their role so well, expressing their attachment to one another and truly giving the viewers a sense of the brotherhood these soldiers have with one another. The scenes containing soldiers receiving medical attention are powerful and even a little graphic, letting the viewer know just how serious these injuries are (one shot reveals a soldier’s thumb dangling off his hand). Sounds of RPGs exploding into buildings and bullets firing out of assault rifles ensure constant movement within the movie (the film won Best Sound Mixing at the 74th Academy Awards). Accordingly, scenes so silent that you could here a bullet drop are incorporated sparingly throughout the movie to tense the viewer as they try to predict when the next grenade will go off. As supported by the film winning Best Film Editing also at the 74th Academy Awards, each scene contains multiple shots from multiple angles that are mashed together to present a very detailed battle shot.
Black Hawk Down is a fantastic and striking film that will please almost all young adults and adults. Young action hungry kids would be heavily enticed by this movie, but not so much for other kids around that age. I believe almost any adult can enjoy this movie because regardless if they like action or not, adults appreciate history more as they get older and would really be intrigued by a movie detailing a major operation in the history of the American forces. Of course, teenage boys attracted to fighting and war will be fully engaged in this film. If you simply like action, or you are intrigued by historical events in American history, this movie is highly recommended.