So as Prometheus draws one day closer, I wanted to watch another of my Ridley Scott faves – so I settled in for Black Hawk Down.
This movie is fantastic!
But I only own it on DVD, as I refuse to upgrade my copy to blu-ray until Sony releases the deluxe edition as opposed to the bare bones edition currently available.
The three disc set on DVD is spectacular, and filled with some brilliant behind the scenes material and historical and documentary material.
And look at this cast…
Eric Bana, Ewan McGregor, Josh Hartnett, Tom Sizemore, William Fichtner, Sam Shepard, Kim Coates, Ron Eldard, Jeremy Piven, Ioan Gruffudd, Jason Isaacs, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Orlando Bloom and Tom Hardy.
The film is based on an operation in Mogadishu, Somalia on October 3, 1993. The US forces there planned a surgical strike to capture two of the top lieutenants of a Somalian warlord committing genocide.
Fore-warned of the approaching Delta and Rangers, the warlord’s soldiers are prepared for their arrival, and what was supposed to be an half hour operation is drawn out into a day long firefight across and around the city, which sees the bringing down of two Black Hawks.
The film follows the fighting of several groups of soldiers across the city, the humvee convoy escorting the prisoners out, the Deltas and Rangers trying to reach the downed Black Hawks, the command center, the eyes above the battle.
All of these are perfectly balanced in Scott’s tense and violent film. Ridley has always been one of my favorite technical directors, the man is a perfectionist when it comes to the images he puts on screen, and this film is a brilliant example of his work.
All the cast went through training and boot camp to make sure that they did justice to the soldiers they were portraying, and it’s all there on screen. Scott interweaves all the stories perfectly, throwing the viewer right into the midst of the battle, it’s bloody and violent.
The film looks almost over-exposed, washing out some of the brilliant colors, to convey the heat of the location, and the one scene back in the States, as one of the men makes a phone call home before leaving on this mission, is washed out in almost sepia tones, romanticizing the idea of home.
Underscoring it all is a pounding score by Hans Zimmer, as we watch the losses on both sides, the sheer brutality of war, and the camaraderie that keeps those soldiers coming back.
Eric Bana’s character Hoot says it best, “When I go home people’ll ask me, ‘Hey Hoot, why do you do it, man? Why, you some kinda war junkie?’ I won’t say a god-damn 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.”
It’s an incredible war film, having a deeper impact knowing its based on an actual event, and took home Oscars for best sound and editing, while also being nominated for best director and cinematography.
It’s a brutally intense, honest and brilliant film made by one of the best directors working today, and I can’t wait to see what Scott brings us next… Come on Prometheus!!