A squad of elite American soldiers ventures into Mogadishu to capture two Somali insurgents, only to end up trapped in the city by a large enemy force.
Black Hawk Down (2001)
Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by Ken Nolan
Starring Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana, Jason Isaacs, William Fichtner, Sam Shepard, Ewen Bremner,
Tom Hardy, Orlando Bloom, Glenn Morshower
Based on the book Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War
by Mark Bowden
Oscar Wins - Best Film Editing, Best Sound
Oscar Nominations - Best Director, Best Cinematography
Black Hawk Down was the final Ridley Scott essential film that I needed to watch. I'm glad I finally got around to it, because this film is remarkably tense. It's a biopic that tells the story of the Battle of Mogadishu in the early 90's, where 160 American elite soldiers attempted to capture two Somali insurgents, and ended up trapped in a nightmare scenario in which the entire city turned on them. Scott, whose career is far more mixed than I initially thought, really does some of his best work here, earning himself an Oscar nomination for his efforts.
I'm surprised none of the cast was recognized. Everyone is fantastic, particularly Jason Isaacs and Eric Bana, who both shed their accents to portray southern American soldiers. I knew they were both great, but hot damn. The film follows several groups of trapped soldiers, opting not to have a main character. It's the same approach Dunkirk took, and it works just as well here. The film never drags, despite its runtime. It brings you into the action, making you feel like you're right there. More so, the film acts as a condemnation of war, but praises the men fighting it, which is what every war film should do.
Black Hawk Down is an intense, unapologetic look at a true American military blunder that resulted in nineteen American deaths and countless Somali deaths. In my opinion, Ridley Scott did his best to ensure the film did justice to the fallen, but what the hell do I know? At the very least, I can tell you this film is one of the war films that everyone should see at least once.