Black Hawk Down DVD – 2 Disc set (Amazon UK site) and We Were Soldiers DVD
I saw this film in March 2002 in California. This is what I wrote at the time:
I went to see Black Hawk Down last night. I saw We Were Soldiers a few days previously.
I disliked Black Hawk Down intensely and enjoyed We Were Soldiers.
Why? The two films are superficially similar. Both attempt to tell factually correct stories of parts of US history that aren’t exactly shining examples of how to do it right (especially when you let the politicians interfere after they have made the decision to go in). Both reconstruct battle scenes very well – too well if you’re squeamish.
I realise there are things that Black Hawk Down got very wrong, that We Were Soldiers did right.
Black Hawk Down: Failed to make me empathise with the characters. We know nothing about them and, for me, that made it hard for me to care about them. There was little background about the storyline, too. I’m sure many US citizens are aware of the facts – I suspect much of the rest of the world isn’t. They will be none the wiser for watching this movie. Frankly, I was left wonder why the movie was made and the violence seemed gratuitous.
We Were Soldiers: Gave the viewer lots of background about the men and their families, as well as about the beginnings of the Vietnam conflict. The viewer is able to care about the characters and what happens to them. A fascinating side story is that US units learning to use helicopters as airborne cavalry mounts for the first time.
So, I really disliked Black Hawk Down – I could hardly wait for the film to end. Interestingly, reviews of it seem spilt about 50/50 on the subject – which is how the group of four I went with were also spilt.
For a look at North America and world events from a British perspective, with a twist of humour for good measure, take a look at my own weblog, over at A Letter from the Olde Countrie.Powered by Sidelines