-

Jump to content



Photo

*** Official "BLACK HAWK DOWN" Discussion Thread


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
166 replies to this topic

#1 of 167 Robert Crawford

Robert Crawford

    Studio Mogul

  • 24,513 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 09 1998
  • Real Name:Robert
  • LocationMichigan

Posted January 13 2002 - 03:26 AM

This thread is now designated the Official Discussion Thread for "Black Hawk Down". Please, post all comments, links to outside reviews, film and box office discussion items to this thread.

All HTF member film reviews of "Black Hawk Down" should be posted to this thread.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.


Crawdaddy

Crawdaddy

 

Blu-ray Preorder Schedule

 


#2 of 167 Robert Crawford

Robert Crawford

    Studio Mogul

  • 24,513 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 09 1998
  • Real Name:Robert
  • LocationMichigan

Posted January 13 2002 - 03:35 AM

This link is to a previously established discussion thread about "Black Hawk Down". On January 18th, this film is finally opening around North America, so hopefully, any discussion items can take place here. Thank you.


Crawdaddy

Crawdaddy

 

Blu-ray Preorder Schedule

 


#3 of 167 Mark Pfeiffer

Mark Pfeiffer

    Screenwriter

  • 1,346 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 27 1999

Posted January 13 2002 - 04:19 AM

I'm just going to continue this from the previous thread since I got to the end of it and found it was moved here.

Technically Black Hawk Down is a remarkable achievement, but I also think that it's deemphasis of a main character is one of the film's main points. As absurd as it is for me to do this, let me quote my own review (which should be online soon):

Quote:
Backstories aren't provided, and no character is central to the action, although Hartnett's is probably the closest of any to being a main character. Although it may lessen impact on an individual basis, it's a wise decision. This way, as an audience, we don't become so attached to one person that we are willing to have them sacrificed for a more prominent character....These men are a unit, not individuals, and we hope for the best for all of them.


As Michael Reuben mentions in the other thread, there are several brief moments with characters that can be very moving. It didn't matter to me that we don't get full character arcs for all of them.

Regarding Bruckheimer, to be honest, I forgot that he was involved with this film. Black Hawk Down makes right a lot of what he did wrong with Pearl Harbor. This doesn't bear the fingerprints of his glossier productions, and it doesn't constantly wave the flag in our faces. It doesn't need to do that. The loyalty of these men to each other in the midst of a mission gone horribly wrong says more than any invocations of empty platitudes or images of softly rippling flags to get easy reactions. This is a tough movie, which, while pro-USA, isn't panderingly jingoistic.
Read my reviews at www.dvdmon.com
My blog: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

#4 of 167 Alex Spindler

Alex Spindler

    Producer

  • 3,973 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 23 2000

Posted January 13 2002 - 05:14 AM

I would echo that statement. The most refreshing part of this is that you can't even tell that he was involved with this. It bears none of his signature elements at all. The action feels authentic and not over the top. There aren't any of the general color filtering or gels I've seen before. Almost none of this feels as though it were a Bruckheimer production. You get the feeling as though he had a hands off approach to the actual filming.

I also liked the focus on so many of the soldiers as opposed to following just one. Because the events take place in several parts of the city at once, I think this is an important and crucial choice to giving a fair account of the whole incident.

I was only able to see it once when I was in LA, and don't want to comment further without another viewing. I will recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in military themed movies, because the ideals and spirit of the special forces are on full display in this, and the maneuvering and combat are something to see.

#5 of 167 Ivan Lindenfeld

Ivan Lindenfeld

    Second Unit

  • 336 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 23 2000

Posted January 15 2002 - 04:13 PM

A reviewish post is under the review thread.

I was impressed at this movie on a technical level. Definitely the most realistic war movie in a while possibly ever. But I kept trying to look for something deeper.

The only thing I came up with is that more ammunition was used in this movie than in any other that I remember whether fiction or science fiction. So perhaps the movie was trying to show that even though the US has amazing firepower, that is not the deciding factor in every conflict. The machines and the men on the ground succeeded. The politicians and military leaders blundered. Nothing changed in Somalia. Is it a message about technology? Ridley Scott has warned us on that before, e.g. Alien and Blade Runner. That technology is a tool but only people can improve the world?

Or can we take this one at face value, as a history lesson done the Hollywood way? Perhaps I lack the background in war films to compare. I think I am well rounded in this regard but perhaps not.

Another thing that struck me was the humor came at odd and random times. This was realistic in my view.

Thinking about POV, perhaps the camera and therefore us was a soldier in Josh Hartnett's group. For the most part, unless the POV is in the air watching the battle overhead (these were my favorite scenes cinematographically) we are *right there*.

Altogether an impressive piece of moviemaking that perhaps does not make me want to see it again soon, as no lessons can be learned from watching it that I don't already know and the fact that the US "lost" and I would have to watch the humiliating ending again. With that said, perhaps it was just a lesson from the school of "Learning your history will help keep it from repeating."

I continue to dwell on this accomplished film...
Ivan Lindenfeld

#6 of 167 Paul Jenkins

Paul Jenkins

    Supporting Actor

  • 965 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 04 2000

Posted January 15 2002 - 05:58 PM

I have not seen the film yet, but hope to very soon.

Ivan, I can't help but think that perhaps you are not supposed to learn anything from this film, or to take away something beyond being witness to the story that this unit went through in Somalia. It appears to be similar to Hamburger Hill in that regard, and if it is as good as that movie, I'm sure I won't be disappointed.

The fact that the movie still has you thinking afterwards is a testament to the power of the film. The movie that most had that affect on me was Schindlers List, followed closely by the opening 20 minutes of SPR.

Thanks for the review.
Regards,
Paul Jenkins
Jenkins For Congress
Texas 3rd District
http://www.jenkins2004.comhttp://www.texas3rd.com

#7 of 167 Derrick G

Derrick G

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 52 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 04 2001

Posted January 15 2002 - 08:06 PM

Ivan,

I think you're trying to look for a message that is not there. This movie is based off the book by Mark Bowden, who interviewed many of the participants in that battle. He even interviewed some Somilias for the book. The movie is very true to what really happened in that battle. It could almost be called a documentary.

Quote:
So perhaps the movie was trying to show that even though the US has amazing firepower, that is not the deciding factor in every conflict.


I can see how you may see this message in the movie. However Ridley Scott wasn't trying to "show" this, he was just telling what happened. There was a tremendous amount of ammunition used in the battle. The US troops alone fired many thousands of rounds of ammo.

If there is any message in this story its that combat really, really sucks.Posted Image

Look at it as a close up, accurate account of modern warfare. If you want a deeper connection you could feel for the plight of those soldiers that lost their lives, or were severly injured because of political BS (ie, they were limited in their support equipment, and the fact that it took almost 10 hours to get the UN troops to go help.)

It's apparant that our military leaders learned their lesson. Compare the limited resources the US had in Somilia with everything that has been thrown at the Taliban.Posted Image

Derrick G

#8 of 167 Bhagi Katbamna

Bhagi Katbamna

    Supporting Actor

  • 874 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 01 2000

Posted January 16 2002 - 06:51 AM

Quote:
It's apparant that our military leaders learned their lesson. Compare the limited resources the US had in Somilia with everything that has been thrown at the Taliban
It has nothing to do with military leaders and everything to do with civilian leaders. Just a few years before the events in Somalia, our military leaders had no problem with kicking Iraq out of Kuwait despite the vaunted elite Republican guard of the Iraqis. I still remember the hand-wringing pinhead news anchors who were trembling at the thought of the Iraqi republican guard.
To educate a man in mind and not morals is to educate a menace to society.
Teddy Roosevelt

#9 of 167 Ivan Lindenfeld

Ivan Lindenfeld

    Second Unit

  • 336 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 23 2000

Posted January 16 2002 - 03:18 PM

Well then maybe you guys are right, there is no chewy moral center to the movie. And that's OK because it wiped the memory of the Bay movie about a famous WWII battle from my mind.

Did anyone else think that there was about 1/2 hour or more of the movie that was being shown in real time? I have to see it again (if my senses can handle it) to recall for sure, but I think it was after Hartnett's group gets to crash site 1 and during the long march up and down the street for Sizemore's group. (I am using generic terms because I don't know if they were platoons or what. Squads?)

This thing is still sticking with me. I saw the TV trailer tonight and now think that it is misleading as it seems to show the Americans leaving Somalia as heroes and has music to help that idea along. Which is complete horseshit.
Ivan Lindenfeld

#10 of 167 Nick_Scott

Nick_Scott

    Second Unit

  • 325 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 09 2001

Posted January 16 2002 - 03:39 PM

Actually, the original ending had a message that many people thought was unpatriotic, so Ridley Scott cut it (according to www.ew.com) due to the 9/11 events.
Maybe we'll see it on the DVD? Posted Image

#11 of 167 Michael Reuben

Michael Reuben

    Studio Mogul

  • 21,769 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 12 1998

Posted January 16 2002 - 05:01 PM

Quote:
Maybe we'll see it on the DVD?
Doubtful. The end-message with the 9/11 reference was a last-minute addition when the film was already deep in post-production. After a decidedly mixed reaction from test audiences, Scott went back to the closing messages as scripted. So what we have in theaters is the original closing.

M.
COMPLETE list of my disc reviews.       HTF Rules / 200920102011 Film Lists

#12 of 167 Derrick G

Derrick G

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 52 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 04 2001

Posted January 16 2002 - 06:13 PM

Bhagi,

I would have to go back and check to be sure but IIRC the decision to pull the AC130 and the Armor was made by the Joint Chiefs of Staff or somewhere around that level. I'm sure, though, that there were a lot of political (i.e. civilian) influence that led to that decision.

Ivan,

In a way you could say they were heroes. They were put into a bad situation due to poor planning by the higher-ups, and had several things go wrong, but they accomplished the mission objectives. They were also heroes in that a little over 100 US soldiers held off several thousand Somolias for almost 15 hours, and only lost 18 men. They got their noses bloodied but they achieved what they set out to do on that mission. The ground troops were ready to continue their operations, but it was the politicians that tucked tail and run by pulling them out

Derrick G

#13 of 167 Robert Crawford

Robert Crawford

    Studio Mogul

  • 24,513 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 09 1998
  • Real Name:Robert
  • LocationMichigan

Posted January 18 2002 - 01:09 PM

Quote:
I saw the TV trailer tonight and now think that it is misleading as it seems to show the Americans leaving Somalia as heroes and has music to help that idea along. Which is complete horseshit.

The soldiers who fought in that battle are heroes to me!



Crawdaddy

Crawdaddy

 

Blu-ray Preorder Schedule

 


#14 of 167 Terrell

Terrell

    Producer

  • 3,217 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 11 2001

Posted January 18 2002 - 01:14 PM

I would concur. They are definitely heroes, at least to me.

#15 of 167 Edwin Pereyra

Edwin Pereyra

    Producer

  • 3,501 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 26 1998

Posted January 18 2002 - 02:42 PM

Wonderful film. As I said in the review thread, this is the least sentimental war film I have seen in a while. Ridley Scott took the right approach in handling the characters.

We know just enough about these men to care about them. There was no need to know more about one’s background, where they went to school or even if they have a wife and kids. Everyone is presented at the same level. No one’s life is more valuable than another or that no one person is better than another. Such needless manipulation was successfully averted.

I would like to see this film again and focus more on the characters this time and less on the plot now that I know what has transpired.

~Edwin
DVD Unwind: Paradise Now (Coming) • King Kong - - • KeaneThe Squid And The WhaleA History Of ViolenceHarry Potter and the Goblet of FireThe Best Of Youth (Italy) • Good Night And Good LuckHowl's Moving CastleWalk The Line - - • ZathuraNorth Country

#16 of 167 Andy Sheets

Andy Sheets

    Screenwriter

  • 2,371 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 06 2000

Posted January 18 2002 - 02:49 PM

I also have to echo the sentiment that those men were heroes. I found it very inspiring to see these guys coming out of the city only to volunteer to go back in (and some of them wounded) because they weren't willing to leave a man behind. The movie actually reminds me a little bit of Apollo 13, in that both films are about missions that were disasters but featured heroism because the people involved refused to be destroyed even though the circumstances suggested that they should have been.

#17 of 167 Kirk Tsai

Kirk Tsai

    Screenwriter

  • 1,424 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 01 2000

Posted January 18 2002 - 10:36 PM

I agree with Derrick on its only theme, this movie shows that combat really, really sucks. The movie does not need to have a moral or resolution that teaches us anything, the 2 plus hours of combat was the point. The brutality was the whole film; one does not need to like it, but I greatly appreciated Scott's depiction of it. That is the reason to watch this movie, and the entire basis of my judgment of the film.

If anything, I felt that several of the conversations and dialogues are more manipulative, or at least one sided, than they should have been. Obviously the film is taking the Americans' point of view, but I think some of the emphasis in dialogues is distracting and not well earned (the Somalian giving his side of the story or Hartnett's final monologue). The same goes for the deaf soilder. Some in the reviews thread had mentioned that the audiences might have needed a relief in this chaos, but to me, that's exactly what the movie should not have had--relief. I was very near appalled when I heard people laughing or cheering.

Perhaps because I felt the process of depicting the combat was the most important element of the movie, I did not feel the character development was important. The uniformity of the U.S. soilders adds to the horrific impact of war.

#18 of 167 Seth Paxton

Seth Paxton

    Lead Actor

  • 7,588 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 05 1998

Posted January 19 2002 - 01:49 AM

Quote:
The movie actually reminds me a little bit of Apollo 13


I agree Andy.

Things go wrong, heroes have the courage to tough it out and fix them, at least as best they can. I was impressed by the actions of every man involved.


Something else I think Scott W mentioned - the cartoonish Somalians. Coming in waves like zombies from Night of the Living Dead.

As I said in my review, it does seem over the top (I was counting the kills in my head sort of and the number seemed way too high). You think it's dramatic licence to show a lot more fighting and killing than really happened. Then you see the numbers - 1000 Somalians killed. It seems to me that Scott accurately showed every kill, on both sides.

And that impressed the hell out of me. Realizing that what I had seen probably WAS exactly like that, because it did seem almost movie-like in the amount of fighting.

Also something to remember is that there was actual footage of things like the pilots being pulled out of the copters and drug naked through the streets, the dead bodies torn apart IIRC. So horrible that news agencies would not show the footage I believe.

That also tells me that the depiction of the "swarming masses" is probably also based heavily on actual footage and pilot testimony, and is probably also very realistically shown in the film. And that also drives home how horrible it must of been.


Finally, think about this. Bruckheimer LOVES the "cool, slow-mo" colorful group of characters shots/scenes. BHD was loaded with groups of potentially "cool colorful" soldiers. Yet we didn't get a single Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, etc. shot of "the team" walking slow-mo to the camera.

And for that I say THANK YOU RIDLEY SCOTT. That's the biggest miracle of the entire film to me. Posted Image It's like Scott must have countered every Bruckheimer instinct.

It's the biggest upset in cinema since Tigerland countered everything that Schumacher was known for (thanks to Matthew Libatique in that case).

#19 of 167 Seth Paxton

Seth Paxton

    Lead Actor

  • 7,588 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 05 1998

Posted January 19 2002 - 02:07 AM

Also, regarding the theme. I think the fact that the words "not left behind" or "no one gets left behind" were repeated by so many characters, tied in with Bana's final speech about it being the men you fight beside rather than being a "war lover" tells us that Scott was driving a theme throughout the film.

Not that war is bad or good, or even that the politicians screwed them.

He was driving home the motivation of the characters that got them through or put them in such unusual circumstances. And isn't that what all films do? I mean we study Kane's life to know why he became who he was and what he did. We learn his motivations for his choices depicted in the film.

And for BHD we are learning the motivations for the what, why, and how's of the Mog raid soldiers. The film is only about that battle. Scott anticipates the natural questions from an audience hearing that story. Why would you go back? What makes you do this? Bana sums it up perfectly.

To want more is to want a film who's story extends far beyond the subject of BHD.


As for the deaf soldier, I am assuming that one guy really did lose his hearing as it is depicted. I thought his reaction to it was very human. The laughter comes from the stress of the situation and the commonality that his deafness brings to the audience. The humor is in the humanness of it, not because it is cartoonish.

To me it was presented as a real danger and he acted truly scared by the situation. Such as the "you'll cover me, right" moment when he responds with the "huh". Or when you think he might get left behind by not hearing them decide to run off (he is covering behind them). It's the sort of handicap that make a bad situation horrible and that came across to me. But in the brief moments of silence we can recognize it as something you "look back and laugh about".

I have been badly injured (burned), but when safely outside that moment I can also look back with humor about it. Especially Murphy's Law type things. The audience has this opportunity because they are outside looking in as if remembering safely from the future (which actually we are).

#20 of 167 Robert Crawford

Robert Crawford

    Studio Mogul

  • 24,513 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 09 1998
  • Real Name:Robert
  • LocationMichigan

Posted January 19 2002 - 02:11 AM

Well, I bought the book this morning and will begin reading it today plus my second viewing of the film will take place today. I've also bought the book "We Were Soldiers Once... And Young" which is the book the film "We Were Soldiers" starring Mel Gibson is based on and that film starts in March.


Crawdaddy

Crawdaddy

 

Blu-ray Preorder Schedule

 



Back to Archived Threads 2001-2004



Forum Nav Content I Follow