Oscar-winning director Ridley Scott (Gladiator) assembled an exceptional cast, including Ewan McGregor, Josh Hartnett, Eric Bana, Tom Sizemore and William Fichtner, for this hard-hitting war movie (2001) based on the true story of a mission to disempower a corrupt Somali warlord by an elite group of US Delta Force soldiers in 1993.
The mission goes horribly wrong when unexpected resistance fighters shoot down two US Black Hawk helicopters in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. The survivors of the wrecked choppers are outnumbered by militia and have no choice but to fight for their lives. When they are finally evacuated the following morning, the US Army has suffered its heaviest loss of military life since the Vietnam War.
With frighteningly real combat scenes, Scott's film seeks to recreate the actual soldiers' experiences as accurately and graphically as possible, making it one of the most convincing representations of war ever captured on celluloid.
The movie itself doesn't rely on jingoistic hero figures like a lot of war movies, instead opting to show the central characters simply trying to survive in the face of an overwhelming threat.
The winner of two Academy Awards (for editing and sound), Black Hawk Down is a relentless attack on the senses, utilising extraordinary visual effects in the combat sequences. While the characters say very little, the indelible images that the movie leaves etched in your memory speak volumes about the grisly and horrific nature of war.