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Hunting with 'Hawks
By Matthew M., Grade 10, Fredericton High, Fredericton, NB

Black Hawk Down
Director: Ridley Scott
Columbia Tristar (2002)

"They (the public) don't understand, that it's about the man next to ya." A line quoted from SFC 'Hoot' Gibson (Eric Bana).

This movie shows how true that statement is. Black Hawk Down is a movie based on the October 3, 1993 events that took place in the African country of Somalia, in the city of Mogadishu. This is where warlord General Mohamed Farrah Aidid has the country in a death grip, by capturing Humanitarian Aid, and holding the country hostage, bringing about the genocide of over 300,000 Somalians.

The story is based on the major event on that day, when four United States Army Special Forces Ranger Chalks (a small group of Ranger troops), and a team of the Elite United States Army 1st  Special Forces Operations Detachment Delta aka Delta Force, into the heart of Mogadishu. They are sent in on a mission, to capture Aidid's top Lieutenants, who are meeting in downtown Mogadishu. Everything goes perfect in the beginning, but soon the initiative is lost. An rocket-propelled grenade is fired at one of the MH-60 Black Hawks (Super-61 piloted by Chief Warrant Officer Cliff 'Elvis' Wolcott a Black Hawk pilot with the 160th Task Force aka The Night Stalkers) used to insert the Rangers. The grenade impacts the chopper, and it is sent spinning into the ground in an already angered city.

The actors chosen to play the main people in this story, in my opinion, made the movie believable. Josh Harnett, aka Sgt. Matt Eversmann, played one of the most convincing characters that I have seen in a war/action movie of this caliber. He brings not only Matt Eversmann's character to the screen, but he also helps bring to the screen the struggle and the sense of what these men went through on that day. Along with the direction of Ridley Scott, the reality and the tragedy of that day, is brought to the screen. The story is told beautifully, with the experience that Ridley Scott has in both action, and war movies (movies such as Gladiator, Alien, and G.I. Jane). He has brought the story of what occurred that day into our homes.

One of the best parts of this movie, aside from the action, would have to be its soundtrack. The music for the movie was composed by Hans Zimmer, an award winning composer. He has brought the feel of Somalia into the movie with compositions such as Gortoz A Ran-J'Attends and Barra Barra - Rachid Taha. He has also brought the ideal behind U.S. Special Forces, of 'leave no man behind, with the aptly named composition Leave No Man Behind. This music, combined with the cinematography, brings a lonely feel, of an epic story of only a handful of men, against an enraged city of thousands, if not tens of thousands.

The symbolism in this movie, is very subtle so you may want to see it several times. One of those symbolisms would be of an old man, carrying his dead grandson through the city, to his final resting place. I think that it is showing, the mourning and death of a nation. The child being the nation, and the grandfather being the nation in mourning.

In my opinion this movie was great.  There were only a few historical details that were missed in the movie. One being that Michel Durant was not hit with a rifle butt, after his capture, but the limb of one of his fallen comrades. As well as the fact that the Delta Operators do not wear flag patches on their uniforms, for operational security reasons. But other than those few details, the movie was a great representation of an event that the lives of many people, and families forever.



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