[MOVIE REVIEW]In Somalia, war is double hell

Home > Culture > Features

print dictionary print

[MOVIE REVIEW]In Somalia, war is double hell

One of the least-seen sights in Hollywood movies over the years is the mighty U.S. military losing. “Black Hawk Down,” however, depicts a battle that the United States really did lose.

Directed by Ridley Scott (“Gladiator,” 2001) and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (“Pearl Harbor,” 2001), “Black Hawk Down” comes to Korea Friday.

The film is the true story of a battle that occurred on Oct. 3, 1993 in Mogadishu, Somalia, based on the bestselling book by Mark Bowden, “Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War.”

An elite team of U.S. fighters, as part of a United Nations’ peacekeeping mission, launches a surprise raid on a Somali warlord’s top lieutenant. It is supposed to be a fast assault, in and out within an hour. But the U.S. troops’ Black Hawk helicopters are shot down, stranding the forces in the middle of a hostile city. Before the events are over, 18 U.S. soldiers will be dead and 73 injured, not to mention hundreds of Somali casualties.

A Somalian soldier tells his American counterpart, “There is no peace without victory,” meaning that the circle of violence in the region is unbreakable, even by U.S. might.

Visually, at least, “Black Hawk Down” is the best war film since “Saving Private Ryan.” Scott choreographs his battle scenes very well. The film is so true-to-life that it overwhelms with falling body parts tumbling onto the streets and explosions bombarding the viewers every 30 seconds.

The volume and action of the film overpowers the performances of actors such as Ewan McGregor and Josh Hartnett. McGregor especially does not get a chance to show his acting abilities, only reciting the most mundane of lines. Instead, the main character of this film is the action itself.

While Scott’s depictions of war are realistic and dreadful, his storytelling rubs the wrong way. When the screen is not filled with bullets and wounded soldiers crying out in pain, the film tries to manipulate viewers with less-thanpersuasive scenes of the characters talking about why they should fight.

At the end of the film, a soldier stands in front of the bodies of his dead comrades-in-arms and says, “They won’t understand. They ask me, ‘Why did you go into someone else’s war? Do you think you are some kind of a hero?’” In response, viewers are left with nothing to say but, “You’re right, I don’t understand.”


by Chun Su-jin

More in Features

Kakao TV launches this month, takes on Netflix

[TURNING 20] In a sea of hate, change flourishes

Criticism of sex ed books for kids raises more questions than answers

When it comes to sex ed, this Danish author says just talk about it

The traveling grandma who's 'alive and kicking it'

Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)

What’s Popular Now