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BLACK HAWK DOWN

Ridley Scott recreates the 1993 raid on Mogadishu, Somalia, a U.S. military operation with tragic consequences.

(Now in stores)

CAST: Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana, William Fichtner, Ewen Bremner, Sam Shepard, Gabriel Casseus, Kim Coates, Hugh Dancy, Ron Eldard, Ioan Gruffudd, Thomas Guiry, Charlie Hofheimer, Danny Hoch, Jason Isaacs, Zeljko Ivanek, Glenn Morshower, Jeremy Piven, Brendan Sexton III, Johnny Strong, Orlando Bloom

DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott


"If all it took to make a great war film was carnage and sensation, this account of the disastrous 1993 raid in Mogadishu, Somalia, that left 18 Americans and more than 500 East Africans dead would be a classic. Instead, Scott's fanatic attention to the logistics of warfare, intended to draw us into the experience, has nearly the opposite effect: Black Hawk Down is so pounding, and so absent of vibrant characterizations, that it's numbing...Up to a point, Scott's spartan style works well--until you realize that the actors are essentially glorified cannon fodder and the battles are going to multiply without much variation...its stripped-down starkness, promoted as the ultimate no-frills view of warfare, is as much a liability as a benefit. It represents a particularly limiting application of hard-bitten manly values to experiences that can't help but transcend them." --Peter Rainer, New York

"Director Ridley Scott ('Gladiator') takes a documentary approach to the factual material in Mark Bowden's justly acclaimed best seller, which makes this war epic as gut-wrenching as any ever filmed...Save for a few cornball speeches, 'Black Hawk Down' ignores politics to pitch audiences into the pitiless heat of battle. This huge $90 million undertaking is a personal best for producer Jerry Bruckheimer, a triumph for Scott and a war film of prodigious power. You will be shaken." --Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

" 'Black Hawk Down' is like Mr. Scott's 'G.I. Jane' but this time with an all-boy cast...As in 'Pearl Harbor,' the battle in 'Black Hawk Down' is an eye-catching misfire, color-coordinated down to the tracer rounds...'Black Hawk Down' is 'Top Gun' on an all-protein diet. The soldiers, mostly ground troops, are much leaner than Tom Cruise was in that 1986 film, though they grin just as righteously...the lack of characterization converts the Somalis into a pack of snarling dark-skinned beasts, gleefully pulling the Americans from their downed aircraft and stripping them...it reeks of glumly staged racism." --Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times

"... even an audience moved to tender patriotism might wonder how Scott, a proven master of 'Gladiator'-size visual showmanship, could have bombed away the personality of every man fighting until he's left with nothing more than pure combat...no one deserves censure, even in conservative times, for asking, Who are these guys with guns? And for requesting more from a war drama than images of blood and guts...in all the 143 minutes of Scott's movie and Ken Nolan's screenplay, the black enemy remains virtually faceless.The handsome fighting Americans are white, meanwhile, but for the most part interchangeable themselves. At a time when almost 2,000 of The New York Times' daily thumbnail profiles of the Sept. 11 dead have moved readers to tears over the months, a little recognition of individual souls -- Somali, Afghan, American -- may be what a war movie needs most to win." Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

"The movie is single-minded in its purpose. It wants to record as accurately as possible what it was like to be one of the soldiers under fire on that mission. Hour by hour, step by step, it reconstructs the chain of events...The Americans gave better than they got, but from any point of view, the U.S. raid was a catastrophe. The movie's implied message is that America on that day lost its resolve to risk American lives in distant and obscure struggles, and that mindset weakened our stance against terrorism. ...Films like this are more useful than gung-ho capers like 'Behind Enemy Lines.' They help audiences understand and sympathize with the actual experiences of combat troops, instead of trivializing them into entertainments." --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"Scott's follow-up to 'Hannibal' is some kind of accomplishment--it's a Jerry Bruckheimer art film, perhaps the most extravagantly aestheticized combat movie ever made...Very little emotional capital is invested in the characters, and as the various choppers, tanks, and snipers converge in the bloody vortex of downtown Mogadishu, 'Black Hawk Down' becomes pure sensation. The movie is a studied composition in flying debris, fleeing crowds, and detached limbs." --J. Hoberman, The Village Voice