Black Hawk Down
Review by Ross Anthony

Gunfire. Lots of gunfire.

Based on an actual event in 1992, US Rangers are sent into Somalia, Africa to extract some key dissidents. The mission doesn't go as planned.

A serene prelude, almost beautiful with the choppers along the coastline provides contrast to nearly two hours of Rangers trying to get their wounded out of the hostile zone. Virtually uninterrupted gunfire.

"I'm shot sir."
"I'm shot too, everybody's shot ... go do your job."

Extremely effectively filmed, never a dull moment; in fact, I'm still tense now at this writing. A hard view. Little to no attention paid to any other story line or depth besides the mission at hand. Just real warfare, and as I said, much more gunfire than dialogue. Here's one viewer's comment, "Ridley Scott is great at the visual, but his film's don't seem to have a point ... maybe that was what he was trying to say here ... there is no point."

As for acting -- rock solid. Josh Hartnett, quite unimpressive in "Pearl Harbor," steps up strongly into this role, managing heart, uncertainty and the devastating task at hand believably well with only a few words. Kudos.

"When the first bullet goes passed your head, politics goes out the window."

The film raises more questions than it answers about US foreign policy;

But I can tell you one thing ... I walked away happy to be alive. Happy not to have been there. Hell, I was exhausted just watching these men, running, sweating, bleeding, dying and still carrying out their missions.

Director Ridley Scott, who recently said he supports this kind of American foreign policy, captures the camaraderie. A quote from the film, "It's all about the man next to you." And though Author Mark Bowden said he'd originally written the book as a "caution" to US intervention seemed to at least concede that, post Sept. 11th, the film could be seen either way, "You come out of the film with whatever you brought to it going in." Further, he feels both the book and the film are pro-soldier.

  • Black Hawk Down. Copyright © 2001. Rated R.
  • Starring Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana, William Fichtner, Ewen Bremner, Sam Shepard.
  • Directed by Ridley Scott.
  • Screenplay by Ken Nolan.
  • Based on the book by Mark Bowden.
  • Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, Ridley Scott at Columbia Revolution.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:19:11 PDT