Ed Driscoll

Black Hawk Down: Post 9/11, Pre-BDS

Mark Steyn reprints his review of 2002’s Black Hawk Down, which I considerably liked at the time as well. Back then, Steyn wrote:

In one of the film’s few departures from reality, Scott put name tags on the Ranger helmets because otherwise they’d be hard to tell apart in the battle scenes. But that’s okay: the cast understands that the film’s real star is the operation and that confusion about who’s who is part of the story. A 16-hour all-night battle compressed into two and a half hours, Black Hawk Down does a brilliant job of placing you inside the heart of the event and plugging you into the rhythm of battle. Scott pulls off an extraordinary technical achievement: as the operation starts to unravel, the film becomes more vivid, unrelenting, intense, adversity heightening the reality. There’s none of those Private Ryan interludes with the ennobling sentiment and uplifting rhetoric. The nobility and inspiration are in the action. It is in that sense a film very much in tune with America’s mood: practical, resolute, fierce.

Remember when films such as Black Hawk Down and Mel Gibson’s We Were Soldiers seemed to signal a muscular post-9/11 pro-US change in Hollywood’s politics, and hence filmmaking? As Steyn writes in the new introduction to his review, dream on, dream on