REVIEWED
12/01/02

STORY



LOOK

Black Hawk Down
Director: Ridley Scott
Year: 2001


War can be (or usually, if portrayed correctly) a decent medium when utitilized in film. There are two main angles that it can be interpreted from. One is from the personal, the second is from the shear brutality. A good war film shows both. (I guess there is a third element, and it comes down to how well it is shot, but I digress) I would place 'Black Hawk Down' and 'Saving Private Ryan' in the same category. Great footage on the ultimate brutalness of war, with some fairly decent perspective of the soldiers on multiple angles. BHD had a little more so from exterior viewpoints, and it lends itself a little bit more to the coldness of battle from the hierarchy point of view. A very tactical and methodic angle going into it, and in doing so introduces the 'characters' of the film in the same light, but they are pretty much lost in the overall battle. The last two major scenes could be shot in a different manner (or not at all), but still overall a very involving movie of the US intervention in Somalia and how the shit tactically all went down. 'Apocalypse Now' and 'Full Metal Jacket' come to mind forthright as pretty decent looks at war, from my perspective. We are in a time where war tends to be a bit more removed (at least in the traditional sense of physical combat), but there are different points of view on it like 'Jacob's Ladder' and 'Three Kings.' Two different kinds of war, two very different takes (I just wish that fuckin Wahlburg puke would have acted as well as his brother on Boomtown). But overall, Black Hawk Down was a pretty involving movie on the events that transpired in that timeframe if you're looking at it from an action point of view, and even a bit on the emotional (but that take is definitely from the back seat). The last two scenes help 'personalize' the film, but due to writing and flow, don't do much overall. An excellent war film (showing mostly US perspective), and definitely graphic. Like beer and driving, not recommended for those under the age of 18.

Talent note: it definitely is a very event-inspired kind of film, so the characters get a bit neglected. Top-billed Josh HartWho?net does a pretty good role as the 'lead' (as far as I could tell, in dealing with his new situation and expressing his distraught realistically as the shit goes down). Other majors would be Ewan McGregor (ah, the classic smack-head gone jedi!) does alright (character writing helps). William Fichtner is probably most recognized from his role in (well, not much you've seen, probably, but still a decent actor nonetheless) the movie Armegeddon as the serious NASA pilot, and on the current TV show MD's (hey, I'm working for ABC, what do you expect?) And there's Tom Sizemore, playing the one-sided character he plays best. Additional note: It's a bit hard to keep all the characters in line, but one of the bad-ass soldiers is played by Eric Bana, who's a 'foreigner' who played a badassmuthahfuckah in an Australian film called 'Chopper' and will be the new Incredible Hulk. Writing isn't the best, but the material he had to work with wasn't exactly great either. Let's hope Ang Lee has a little better material planned for him.