Black Hawk Down is as gruesome as Saving Private Ryan, but lacks the originality. The compelling story is based on an actual Army operation gone way wrong in Somalia. (Most of the events take place the day I entered active duty in the Air Force – October 4th, 1993.) The ensemble cast does extremely well with what limited character development such a format affords, and the cinematography and music are on a par with (and very similar to) director Scott’s recent Best Picture, Gladiator.
However, Scott’s thrill-ride style doesn’t fit this story as well as the popcorn epic Gladiator. This story hits much closer to home for me, and I was unable to forget that war is truly nasty and just enjoy the movie the way I did Gladiator. Black Hawk Down is no less thrilling, but while revisiting events such as this, should one really enjoy the ride?
If you don’t mind extreme violence and enjoy Scott’s directorial style, see it, and gain a new appreciation of the situations Army people (my wife was one) volunteer to put themselves in. If you find gut-wrenching violence intolerable, or only excusable when accompanied with marked originality of filmmaking or storytelling, skip this one.
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P.S. I think you should keep your young children, and even teens who can't maturely deal with such material, way the heck away from this one.
Copyright 2002 by Toby Baldwin
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