‘It is only the dead who have seen the end of war’. Attributing this to Plato, the movie Black Hawk Down, directed by one of the profound directors of Hollywood- Ridley Scott, is one of the best combat movies made till date. Not only depicting the gore reality of the life in Somalia-a third world country, the movie to a great extent engraves patriotism in the hearts of the viewers. An adaptation of the book by Mark Bowden of the same title, Black Hawk Down belongs to Drama, war, action and historical genre displaying intense, chaotic war scenes and violence.
Thus, with an R rating, it makes parental guidance inevitable due to its concrete picturization of reality and the inevitable fierce actions and language used by the forces at the time of combat. Released in 2001, a 144 minutes movie, Black Hawk Down does not centralize itself around any specific character, but greatly focuses on war violence and the trauma faced by the soldiers and the people. A movie starring some of the best actors such as Josh Harnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana, William Fichtner and Sam Shephard and their strong performances, secured Black Hawk Down’s position in the Box Office.
Winning the Academy Awards for Film Editing and Sound in 2001, the dramatization is immense and Scott’s creative vision is cast on the screen, giving the audience a true picture regarding the brutal reality of war and the anguish faced by the soldiers intrinsically. Using accurate equipments: weapons, helicopters, uniforms; lighting and camera angles, Scott has given his viewers a visual picturization of the gross certainty prevailing in certain parts of the Third World Countries.
Black Hawk Down represents a corporal image of the violence present in the Third World Countries. The Third World Order was one of the repercussions of the World War II. Expected to idolize the First and the Second worlds, this Third World represented by the decolonized nations stratified under inherent underdeveloped economies, faced terrifying discord, distancing themselves from peace and stability. One of the most chilling events that shook the boulders of history was the Civil War that has been fought in Somalia.
Black Hawk Down is that perceptible depiction of one of the events that involved this Civil War on October 3, 1993- a fight between US armed forces (with the extended support of the United Nations Peace keeping forces) and Somalia militants. An illustrative chronicle of the Civil War, it shows the brutalization of civilization- socially, economically and politically and questions the very nature of humanity itself. Portraying the rule of anarchy and its effects on the lives of the people, Black Hawk Down is that parody of World peace spoken by a lot of Nations all over the world.
Mohammed Farrah Aidid, one of the most powerful warlords who ruled the capital Mogadishu and his warfare with the rival clans after the lapse of Siad Barre’s government and his nihilism are very aptly presented by Scott. Aidid’s control and manipulation of people by spreading famine on a biblical scale by seizing the international food shipments at the ports is a perfect depiction of violence and clutter present in the Third World Countries. This lawless regime of Aidid that killed 300,000 civilians due to starvation and his use of hunger as a weapon did open the eyes of U.
N peacekeeping forces, who along with the support from America tried to restore order and stability in Somalia. Various scenes in the movie such as: the opening scene that shows terribly thin people supporting each other and dead bodies sprawled everywhere covered with a blanket, children scared and sheltered in classrooms and crying of a child over his father’s dead body- his father being one of the militias, the number of civilians armed ready for battle, the market selling arms and ammunitions freely; exhibit the inhumanity and violence prevalent and the trauma undergone by the civilians.
The strife and the struggle of the soldiers and the inhuman killing of 19 soldiers along with the brutal killing of about 1000 Somalians only show the effects and insanity present in the World. Aiding the world in spreading peace the ordeal faced by the America’s elite soldiers, Delta Force, Army Rangers and the 160th SOAR along with the fall of 2 Black Hawk’s- the helicopters used by the forces and the struggle of the soldiers in getting the injured, hurt and the dead back with the slogan, “No one is left behind” leave the viewers in awe.
The use of deadly weapons like toys with innumerable bullet shells firing and the graphic representation of blood spilling like water, the severing of a man in half, severed hand and the detailed visualization of a soldier’s treatment with the insertion of hand inside his leg only evidently point out the violence present in the life of soldiers and the militants. Thus, representing anarchy as a regime, famine as a tool and the psychological manipulation and anguish faced by the people, Black Hawk Down portrays the political, economic and social life of the people in Somalia.
Acquainting us with the fact that Somalia is just one of the Third World countries of the world and by giving us a view of the life of people during the time of Civil War, Black Hawk Down is a transparent reality. Emotionally and mentally challenging the viewer’s understanding of war and giving a detailed picture of the life of people under anarchy, the movie is a classic and tops the ‘must watch’ list of War movies.
With clear shots and strong acting by each and every individual in the movie, Scott’s adaptation is truly inflaming and nerve-wrecking. Not only portraying the dystrophic factor in the Third World countries, it portrays the loyalty, dedication and the lives of the combats forces unlike the gruesome parody of other action movies where a single man handles an entire army. Proving the teamwork and the strategies used by these forces, Black Hawk Down is a phenomenal movie.
Easy to follow, but difficult to digest the reality that is depicted in the movie, Hans Zimmer’s fabulous music and score along with Scott’s precise and vivid scenes is very appealing to the viewer’s emotion. With scenes repeatedly playing in the head even after the end of the movie, only says that Scott has been successful in passing on his message of reality to the world with the life of Somalia being depicted in its truest sense. All in all, it is a highly recommended movie.