Rated R for intense, realistic, graphic war violence, and for language.
When I go home people’ll ask me, “Hey Hoot, why do you do it man? What, you some kinda war junkie?” You know what I’ll say? I won’t say a goddamn word. Why? They won’t understand. They won’t understand why we do it. They won’t understand that it’s about the men next to you, and that’s it. That’s all it is. – “Hoot”
In 1993, Army Rangers and members of the elite Delta Force were set to participate in an operation in Somalia that fell to pieces. The soldiers were sent to abduct two leaders of an evil Warlord that had been starving the people of Somalia. The precarious fall of one soldier initiated a series of many events gone terribly wrong. With the city militia closing in on them and two Black Hawk Choppers having crashed, it’s up to the men on the ground to secure the fallen choppers and somehow stay alive as well.
Only the dead have seen the end of war. -Plato
Black Hawk Down offers a very profound view to an event that really transpired in Somalia during the Clinton administration. It clearly sets itself apart from other War films or epics by short-cutting back and forth between the individual experiences of the men during this surmountable mission gone bad. One RPG and one mans decent to the ground began a series of events that could not be stopped by any man or higher power.
There is undoubtedly a series of amazing action sequences that attempt to mirror the tale written by Mark Bowden in his novel. The large scope of the battle is not delved into, but the individual battles are accounted for with great detail.
The brutality of war, the violence of war has all been portrayed before, but not in the way that Ridley Scott shot this film. It almost felt more documentary at times, connecting the viewer directly to the military men you were focused on.
In situations like these every man is a hero in their own way. They all are putting their lives on the line to get the job done. Whether that job is applauded by politics and the world alike is not up for judgement, because every single one of those men are willing to die for each other and for the integrity of the mission. The camaraderie of the military, the humanity for each other alone, was the most powerful message I received from Black Hawk Down. In the most dire of circumstances we do not leave our people behind, and many men lost their lives for that mantra.
By the end of the film you don’t ask yourself if it was worth it, you don’t reflect on the political aspect of the situation, nor do you reflect on the aspect of the battle and war itself. You simply think about the men. It’s as complicated and simple as that.
- Eric Bana as Hoot
- Josh Harnett as Eversman
- Ewan McGreggor as Grimes
- Tom Sizemore as McKnight
- William Fichtner as Sanderson
- Ron Eldard as Durant
- Ewen Bremner as Nelson
- Sam Shepard as Garrison
- Gabriel Casseus as Kurth
- Hugh Dancy as Schmid
- Orlando Bloom as Blackburn
- Charlie Hoftheimer as Smith
- Ioan Gruffud as Beales
- Danny Hoch as Pilla
- Jason Isaacs as Steele
- Jeremy Piven as Wolcott
There were some serious stand out roles in this motion picture, in particularly Eric Bana’s portrayal of “Hoot”, the man from Delta Force that just kept going. His low key attitude towards the situation at hand separated him from a man who was there trying to fulfill his mission, to what I call a real modern warrior. He didn’t love what he did, but he did it because it was necessary. It was an outstanding performance. Ewan McGreggor was excellent as usual, but playing the “desk guy” who really rose to the occasion made his portrayal of Grimes really something tangible. Jason Isaacs is an actor that’s been in just about everything, but upon a third viewing of Black Hawk Down I finally connected his character with the actor. He was so solid and far from any other role I’d seen him play, I’d forgotten who he was and believed him as Steele. All the actors gave their performance a 100% genuine delivery and that made the film even more authentic.
Ratings and Suggestions
This is a very violent and disturbing movie to watch. It will sit with you for hours, maybe even days after festering in your mind, possibly touching you in ways you didn’t know a movie could. It certainly isn’t a film everyone could handle, or something to be viewed by children, but it’s definitely a film that I would recommend everyone to see, and whether or not you agree with the policies of our military or government, you can at least appreciate the sacrifices these men make every day. Stories like Black Hawk Down that you don’t necessary hear about in the news or on CNN. Every one of those men and women are heroes.