Black Hawk Down

Last night I went to see Black Hawk Down with Day at the Denman theatre.

The movie wasn’t terrible, as I’d expected, but I won’t say it was great, either. And, as I had expected, it glossed over in very broad terms the hows and whys of the US getting themselves into that situation.

Ridley Scott is as master of tension – few action directors know how to pace a film as well as he does, and he uses these skills to very good effect here. The camera-work was heavily influenced by both Saving Private Ryan and Three Kings, who each pioneered different types of war camera-work – the up-close and in-your-face, jerky/smooth frenetic work of Saving Private Ryan, mixed with the sped-up, slightly washed-out look from Three Kings. The cinematography was decent, but seemed in complicated scenes, it got a little confusing as to what was going on, and not in a way that echoed the chaos on screen – They would have been better served, I think, with fewer angle-jumps during the heavy-firefight scenes.

This film is one of the very few I have watched that has made me feel so queasy that I felt I was either going to hurl or pass out – either way, I had to put my head between my legs for a little bit – during the ‘operation’ scene, which just far too explicit for me.

Finally, this film re-confirms my opinion that army life just sucks. The mission was a cluster-fuck of command mistakes. There’s a lot made of the idea that heroism is in the small acts – defending the man next to you & being in the army is not about loving war or fighting, it’s about protecting your fellow soldiers, that the ‘why’ doesn’t matter. Of course, the ‘why’ is was got them in the situation where it no longer mattered in the first place. The moral of the story as I understood it (and clearly a completely unintentional one): Always question authority.