Black Hawk Down, the film that spawned a thousand videogames.
Based on a true story (the key word there is ‘based’), this is the story of a disastrous US Special Forces action against a warlord in Somalia.
Black Hawk Down is not without its flaws, but is well worth another look – even if you have already seen it – and well worth a first look if you haven’t.
I had forgotten the brilliant soundtrack. Every note is evocative, every tone sounds authentic (even though it isn’t).
Also worth mentioning, and a point too easily overlooked, is the international cast.
Just, for a moment, taking away the American actors, we are left with:
Ioan Gruffudd (Aberdare)
Ewan McGregor (Perth)
Ewen Bremner (Edinburgh)
Hugh Dancy (Stoke on Trent)
Orlando Bloom (Canterbury)
Tom Hardy (London)
Željko Ivanek (Ljubljana)
Kim Coates (Saskatoon)
Eric Bana (Melbourne)
Treva Etienne (London)
Razaaq Adoti (London)
George Harris (Grenada)
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Rudkøbing)
Jason Isaacs (Liverpool).
Although Black Hawk Down is staged well for the relentless realism of urban warfare, it shouldn’t be seen as an accurate retelling.
The strength of the film, however, is the constant, incessant, punishing chaos of urban conflict.
Depicted well is the complete confusion and disorder, the total absence of a cohesive strategy, the massive underestimation of a well-armed enemy, and the crowning glory of idiocy; the tactical errors heaped upon even more and even greater tactical errors, of the US command.
In the words of the Prussian military tactician Field Marshall Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke ‘No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy’.
This film shows how chillingly accurate that phrase is, whilst continuing to maintain, and turn up the suspense.
Black Hawk Down is an easy four out of five, or an eight and a half out of ten.