Now, judging from the knowledge of this website's members, a discussion on the movie Blackhawk Down may seem cliche, but I hope some of the actual special forces members can add to everyone else's understanding of the events in Mogadishu as well as clarify what is movie magic and what is real.
Aside from that, I am providing some great stills from the film that I made myself. They make bad ass wallpapers. Enjoy!
Blackhawk Down, directed by Ridley Scott, is a film based on the book by Mark Bowden about a 1993 U.S. military special-forces battle against an oppressive Somali warlord named Mohamed Farrah Aidid. He cuts off shipments of food at the ports of East Africa in a time of mass starvation in order to build himself an army and raise himself into power. After a brief, but beautifully shot exposition, most of the film takes place in the invasion gone wrong on the streets of Mogadishu. While the film carries a powerful message about the indiscriminateness of war and questions the role of US military aid in other countries, it falls short because the true nature of the story does not allow enough of the characters to be developed as much as they should be. The characters that should carry an emotional obstacle to overcome are trained to suspend fear and do what they are told. Every soldier in the film is willing to help out without question, so the only obstacle they have is to watch out for each other, accomplish their mission, and return alive.
Although almost every character shows acts of heroism, including Ranger Staff Sergeant Matt Eversmann, played by Josh Hartnett and Delta Sergeant 1st Class Norm 'Hoot' Hooten, played by Eric Bana, it’s simply the duty and brotherhood of a soldier that compels them.
The editing in this film is excellent; done by Pietro Scalia, who won an Oscar for Best Editing. Since most of the film is a long stretch of action scenes, it was a complex editing job. There are many fast cuts edited together with slow motion, subjective and objective shots. It was an accomplishment to intersperse shots of the enemy’s struggle as well. Although the teams of Army Rangers and Delta Commandoes are difficult to track, this lack of direction adds to the chaotic experience of combat. It brings a new appreciation for the rigorous training that these soldiers go through because the audience experiences combat gone wrong, and the courage it takes to endure hardships on the battlefield
The cinematography in this film is all very attractive to the eye. The shots in the day are blue and dusty tinted, and at night there are lots of contrasting greens and reds. The real Blackhawk helicopters themselves create an exciting visual element that allows for gorgeous shots of the soldiers cruising past landscapes such as the run down city and glistening ocean. The computer generated “Little Bird” Delta commando helicopters that swoop into the city also allow great long shots of the action. In addition, handheld shots are used frequently in battle scenes to effectively to add to the chaos. Overall the shots are skillfully composed, but due to the amount of action in the film, not every shot has a deeper meaning. Lighting is used extensively in this film to portray emotion, such as when Hooten tells Eversmann to think about withdrawing his men, for example. The sinking feeling as he realizes that he will soon be taken out of the fight and replaced is conveyed with a distinct blue tint and jagged lines of light across Eversmann’s face. In the chaos of the battle, and all of the fast cuts in this film, light becomes an important visual indicator of emotion.
The theme of the film is a question that nobody knows: should they be fighting another person’s war? This film is definitely a strong reminder that the next time our country engages in conflict, things may not go as planned. The film gives off a pacifist stance on the subject of war, but also reaffirms the heroism of the soldiers who are ordered to carry out our country’s best interests. Overall this film is a big feat considering the constraints of time in proportion to the large amount of action that took place in the actual fight. It is also realistic in its depiction of the randomness of war: no one can choose who dies or not. Although character development is not as complete as a normal film should be, it is not what this film is supposed to be. Through a visual perspective, it is a successful film in its realistic depiction of the actual event. Through a narrative perspective it is successful in conveying its theme.
How did you get the screen captures? I don't have power DVD (although my dad has Cyberlink Power DVD - but I could not get that to work) and have been trying to get some captures from BHD and Tears of the Sun.
Get the Special Edition DVD - Tom Matthews (TF160), Danny McNight (Ranger), Matt Eversman (Ranger), and Lee VanArsdale (Delta) give a commentary to the entire film. It is very, very interesting to hear what they have to say.
Van Arsdale, in particular, comments on Matt Rierson, Shugart, Gordon, and casaulties during war. He says that some in the media have mislabled the Oct 3rd raid "Distastrous" because we took casaulties and if that is the case then Normandy was the biggest military distaster in history.
Great 150 min. long "making of" with one whole section on how they trained the three commands.
If anyones interested, there's a book written by Michael Durant which covers the operation in Somalia from his perspective. It's called "In the Company of Heroes". It could be worth a read.
I saw that at chapters yesterday, I was going to buy it, but I didn't have enough money.
BHD is fairly realistic by all accounts of the real events that I've come across. A few things were changed, I'm sure, but it is still fairly well done in my opinion. Eg: Two birds did go down. Two Delta snipers named Sughart and Gordon did go in to secure the Durant crash site, and were killed trying to fight off militia. They were awarded the Medal of Honor for their efforts.
I have read the book by Mark Bowden and understand how someone can write about an event without being involved directly. Sure, Durant was there, but he was in one place, and probably has his own feelings about the battle as well. I read a Q and A with some of the rangers on the PBS website, and most seem to feel betrayed by their leadership. Does Durant share this point of view? I mean a lot of the rangers I know quit the military after this event. Bowden's book is based on interviews and declassified information pieced together. It contains Durant's experiences already. Hmmm....
I have a lot of respect to the entire operation, whatever the cost was. On my side of the atlantic bad things happened, with a lot of similarities - i can only say that the BS around the movie, is still just BS.
From your language, I'm assuming you think I'm some sort of little kid whose knowledge of military history is based on hollywood movies and computer games, eh. Well, your wrong, I've spent a lot of time and money researching military history. And well I might not be an expert, I doubt you'd be the first the government turns to for expert advice on warfare either. So, please, stop making assumtions, and stop insulting everyone. This is a forum thread on the internet, there is no need for these kind of personal attacks against people simply because you don't agree with their point of veiw. I have stated my opinion on the movie, and I would like to hear yours, if you can state it without resorting to inappropriate language or insults. Now, can we knock off the sarcasm and flaming and have a nice, civil disscusion of the film.