Black Hawk Down (2001)

Black Hawk Down (2001)

2001 | R | 144 Minutes

Action | History | War

When U.S. Rangers and an elite Delta Force team attempt to kidnap two underlings of a Somali warlord, their Black Hawk helicopters are shot down, and the Americans suffer heavy casualties, facing i...

Overall Rating

8 / 10
Verdict: Good

User Review

  • Black Hawk Down is a competent, confident and chaotic war film. It tells the true story of a raid in Mogadishu that lead to the first battle between the Somalian Militia and American Rangers. As the title suggests, a Black Hawk does indeed go down. This is a mighty difficult flick to rate. As a representation of modern warfare, it succeeds substantially and sits in the elite group of visceral war films. But as a complete movie? Questionable. Firstly Ridley Scott is such a consistent director in terms of tackling a genre and producing a film that defines that genre. Black Hawk Down is no different, his eye for technical technique and production is second to none. A war torn Mogadishu, practical explosions and effects, utilisation of real Black Hawks and army equipment. It's authentic, and that is a real important factor for a war film. The narrative subtly explores the cost of war on both sides. The US army losing valuable soldiers and equipment (which financially would set them back quite largely) and the Somalian families who are living in ruins. There will always be one view point that towers over the other, but there is the gritty imagery of war and the aftermath that it leaves behind which proves to be effective. This has a massive ensemble cast, with Josh Hartnett being the lead I guess (he is on the cover, sooooo technically...he is the lead). He doesn't deliver, in fact many of the actors don't. That's not their fault though. Scott purposefully chose to focus on the aspects of war rather than glorified American heroes. Even so, there is such limited characterisation that any loss of life delivers no emotional impact for the audience. It's no spoiler that many succumb to their wounds, and yet we're supposed to feel saddened. I physically cannot feel emotive towards someone who I can't relate to, or even care for. That is what prevents this from being an outstanding war film like many classics before. Jason Isaacs was probably the stand out performance for me. Still a decent war flick, it's powerful imagery just about saves it from being lifeless.