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It seems that in the past few years there has be an overwhelming amount of “war” movies. Saving Private Ryan, Pearl Harbor, The Thin Red Line, and now Black Hawk Down. War is a hard medium to portray. Most movies in this genre either focus on one or a small group of heroes or try and portray the entirety of war. Many who have been in real combat situations find that movies cannot give realism to the horrors of war. A screen cannot make you feel companionship, or make you feel determination or fear. Black Hawk Down, based on actual events, succeeds when many others fail.

Somalia, 1993. Years of civil war has caused famine on a biblical scale. UN forces move in to stop the fighting and ease the hunger. However, after withdrawing from the area, Mohammed Farah Aidid- the strongest of Somalia’s warlords- claims all the food for himself. Hunger is his weapon to gain control. Mogadishu is his stronghold, and he targets UN peacekeepers and American troops. The UN returns to Somalia with orders to take out Mohammed Farah Aidid. The mission was meant to last 3 weeks. On October 3, 1993, after 6 weeks in Somalia, a one hour raid was planned to “kidnap” Aidid’s top aides. From major blunders of top advisors, to small mistakes on the ground, things went wrong. Soliders were left in a city boiling with armed terrorists bent on death.

The realism of this movie is frightening. It takes you to a place where you really don’t want to be and then dumps you right in the middle of it. While there is no individual heroism, the movie is still full of it- classified by the line of the movie “No-one asks to be a hero, sometimes it just turns out that way.” We see the individual struggles of the soldiers and they way they over come- or don’t- what is put in front of them. Black Hawk Down helps you see war for the grisly truth it is and yet makes clear the reasons why those who have fought it continue to fight.

I cannot think of a bad moment in the movie. The acting is superb, and the script is not just “based on an actual event” as the beginning of the movie states. It feels like a re-creation of that event. You are there. The only word I can find to describe this movie is Powerful. A must see for young and old.