Black Hawk Down 2001 Book Cover Black Hawk Down 2001
Ridley Scott
Mark Bowden (book), Ken Nolan (screenplay)
Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore

Summary :

160 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis.

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The film is an actual event that took place not so long ago – on the third day of October, in the year 1993 – in a place where the people were denied as much as a grain of rice and a drop of water – in the famine struck land called Somalia. The U.S forces consisting of 140 soldiers were on their way to executing a dual mission – One, to help the Somalians on humanitarian grounds by making arrangements for food to feed the unfed. Unfortunately, their efforts are brought to naught when the Somali warlord, Mohd. Farrah Aidid puts a spoke in the wheel. Consequently, his capture turns out to be their second mission. And what is foreseen to be a simple agendum turns out to be a convoluted civil war – the sortie that was expected to take less than 60 minutes took more than 24 hours. The U.S. soldiers were fighting on alien grounds and it became difficult to make out the friends from the foes. This skirmish ensues into a combat that has proven to be one of the heaviest losses for the country that was trying to do its bit in living up to the humane manifestation of altruism and benevolence.

Do you wanna know what a war is all about? Do you wanna know how it feels seeing your friend die knowing too well that it could’ve been you… had it not been for that inch of ground that made the difference? Do you wanna know what the term ‘insecurity’ really means? ‘Black Hawk Down’ has the answers for you.

The film enjoys the same title as Mark Bowden’s book ‘Black Hawk Down’ that it is based on. Having recently been nominated for the 74th Academy Awards in several categories (Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound and Direction), there can be but little complaint against the film.

Though it brings to the fore the unity of an entire army, rather than the usual glorification of just one hardy obverse figure (the fallacy of most war movies), the film has ostracised the rendition of identifiable characters, with the result that the audience has to deal with nameless faces they cannot place.

The two hour twenty four minute film seems too prolonged and just when you think the situation is reaching its nadir, the troupes are back promising us another climax of the film, that seems never ending.

The film largely accentuates the belief that history repeats itself. The current situation comes to mind when one sees the American soldiers fight the Somali Muslims. Ridley Scott subtly conveys a certain degree of similarity between what was and what is, with the intention coming across as somewhat deliberate.

The direction, film editing, sound, and cinematography are well worth their Oscar-nominations. ‘Black hawk Down’ has managed to capture the essence of war and leaves the audience satiated with the excitement, patriotism and anxiety of a real-life experience. Watch this one for the pathos it evokes.