Blackhawk Down!

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
OMG this book was good! I'm seeing the movie next weekend. I'm not big on War books(never read Clancy) but this is some riveting writing. There's something about confronting your biggest fear and overcoming it that is liberating. Anyone who read it let me know what you thought and next week I'll do a minireview.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    As far as the book goes, the story didn't even get into the war...just that one event and the soldiers involved. The movie, I hear, is exactly the same...there's some quick and dirty introduction and then you get thrust into the thick of the crisis when the 2 Black Hawks are shot down.
  • Reply 2 of 48
    The main character's name was changed at the request of the Army. Apparently his post-Mogadishu exploits were a dramatic departure from his earlier days.



    <a href="http://www.nypost.com/news/nationalnews/36965.htm"; target="_blank">link</a>



    [quote]December 18, 2001 -- The Army pressured the filmmakers of "Black Hawk Down" to change the name of the war hero portrayed by Ewan McGregor - because the real-life soldier is serving a 30-year prison term for rape and child molestation, says the man who wrote the book that spawned the movie.



    In Ridley Scott's highly anticipated movie, McGregor plays Ranger John Grimes, a desk jockey who is called into battle during the botched Army operation in Somalia in 1993.



    The character is based on real-life Ranger John "Stebby" Stebbins, but Pentagon officials asked his name be changed in an attempt to keep his shame a secret, claims author Mark Bowden, who also penned the original screenplay for the movie.



    Stebbins' embittered ex-wife, Nora Stebbins, complained in an e-mail to The Post: "They are going to make millions off this film in which my ex-husband is portrayed as an All-American hero when the truth is he is not."<hr></blockquote>



    [ 01-12-2002: Message edited by: DoctorGonzo ]</p>
  • Reply 3 of 48
    That's horrible.
  • Reply 4 of 48
    glurxglurx Posts: 1,031member
    Read <a href="http://www.philly.com/packages/somalia/nov16/default16.asp"; target="_blank">the newspaper series</a> that formed the basis for the book.



    The <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/ambush/"; target="_blank">PBS Frontline site</a>.



    <a href="http://home.megapass.co.kr/~horanjoh/"; target="_blank">Eyes Over Modudishu</a>



    <a href="http://www.spe.sony.com/movies/blackhawkdown/"; target="_blank">Official movie site.</a>
  • Reply 5 of 48
    I just read the book a couple weeks ago, and I agree that it is a fantastic piece of writing. I don't think a book has ever emerssed me in itself like Black Hawk Down did. I also can't wait for the movie. I was thrilled when I found out that Mark Bowden wrote the screenplay. I had been afraid that they would Hollywoodize the book and ruin it, but I'm sure that he'll stay pretty true to himself.
  • Reply 6 of 48
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,273member
    Stebby was far from the focus of the film. IMO you don't go changing names(unless it is to protect those Awesome Delta Force guys.shhhhhhh)this a true life story. Also check out <a href="http://www.cinemayhem.com/cgi-bin/Ultimate.cgi?action=intro&BypassCookie=true"; target="_blank">http://www.cinemayhem.com/cgi-bin/Ultimate.cgi?action=intro&BypassCookie=true</a>; this messageboard kicks arse it's all about the movie..Raleigh Cash, Steve Anderson, Brian Heard and more regularly post there. Fantastic reading. BTW not all are happy with their portrayal but there seems to be no gross errata.
  • Reply 7 of 48
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Minor Spoiler Alert



    They changed his name to Grimes for the film, and even though he's played by Ewan McGregor, he's ver uninvolved in the thick of the plot. He has a couple of action scenes, a coffee fetish, and is involved in some comic relief.



    I just got back from the theater, and the audience was dead silent by the time the credits rolled.



    There is a lot of great comic relief in the film too...and it is necessary...it gives the audience some rest time...time to blink every now and then.



    From the movie I liked best:

    The story revolving around the second downed chopper, 'Super-64.'



    Erik Bana's character, Hooten.



    Ewen Bremner's comic relief as Nelson.



    What I didn't really like...Ridley Scott has a hand fetish or something...and he likes to use those artistic, surrealistic shots...think Gladiator...



    Best movie I've seen all year. It's damn good.
  • Reply 8 of 48
    lets re-write history every one! Go see 'Black Hawk Down' Today!

    You can see the big American bad ass kill Somalis! Yea!





    [quote]



    Entertainment: Minnesota Somalis call for 'Black Hawk Down' boycott



    Copyright © 2002 AP Online \t

    Group protests depiction of Somalians as savages





    By RENEE RUBLE, Associated Press



    MINNEAPOLIS (January 18, 2002 11:21 p.m. EST) - Somali-American community leaders called for a boycott of "Black Hawk Down," claiming the new movie depicts their African homeland's people as savages and could create a backlash against refugees who fled to the United States.



    Omar Jamal, executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in St. Paul, said about a dozen people from the center saw a preview of the movie this week and were shocked. Minnesota is home to at least 25,000 Somalis, believed to be the biggest concentration in the nation.



    "We don't know what Americans will think of us Somalis after they watch this movie," Jamal said Thursday.



    "The Somali people are depicted as very savage beasts without any human element," he said. "It's just people shooting each other."



    The movie, which opened Friday, portrays a 1993 firefight that left 18 American soldiers dead. They were part of a mission aimed at restoring peace and averting famine in the country in the wake of the ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.



    Jamal said the movie left out that thousands of Somalis were killed in the conflict. The Advocacy Center planned to distribute fliers at theaters explaining the history of the conflict.



    With the focus back on Somalia as a possible hideout for al-Qaida members, the movie compounds the possible repercussions for local Somalis, who have worked since Sept. 11 to show their support in the war against terrorism, Jamal said.



    He cited the death of a Somali man punched at a Minneapolis bus stop in October, which triggered accusations in the Somali and Muslim communities of a hate crime. No one has been charged.



    "The community is shocked and really afraid of the consequences of this movie," Jamal said. "It's a big psychological setback of our efforts." <hr></blockquote>
  • Reply 9 of 48
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    More spoilers!



    I think people should watch the movie before making snap judgements at all. Before simply pasting someone else words into this thread, you should watch the film and come to your own conclusions. This is all I ask.



    The movie does not glorify American foreign policy. It does precisely the opposite. I don't think a single person left the theater without once thinking "WTF where we doing there?"



    the imagery...

    the people dying over bags of grain labeled USA.

    The morality argument between Hartnett and the other soldier.

    The one guy saying "This is OUR war...NOT YOURS"

    or the other Somali telling him nothing will change.



    The movie also does not leave out the fact that thousands of Somalis were killed in that event alone. In fact, that fact is clearly delivered in plain text at the end of the movie.



    And it doesn't show anything particularly savage when it comes to the Somalis...except for one scene with second downed Black Hawk where they mutilated the bodies of the Delta Force snipers and the dead crew...of course they didn't even show that in the movie...we got to see that in publications like LIFE and TIME...and on CNN. Once scene shows a son accidentally shooting his father and huddling in grief. That's just before the scene where a Ranger finds himself retreating into a house where a terrified mother and her children are. These are not images of savagery. It also shows friendly Somalis in one of the final scenes of the film, when the last group of soldiers is running back toward the Pakistani stadium.



    This is not a movie that will have you waving an American flag by the time the credits roll, that's for sure...It's not about Badass Americans.



    What is that guy asking for anyway? Toning down a story because of a problem that runs deeper. This movie isn't the first, and it won't be the last to subject us to the age-old "us vs. them" argument. Would censoring the movie accomplish anything???



    *Sigh* I guess I should have expected it...Two people that I bet have neither read the book or watched the movie broad-siding this thread with words that aren't even their own...



    Kind of reminds me of this photo in a way. Some of use are individuals...and some of us are groupsiduals, I guess.







    [ 01-19-2002: Message edited by: Eugene ]</p>
  • Reply 10 of 48
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    I forgot to add another detail left out of the movie...Somali militia using civilians a shields...shooting from behind between their legs. Stuff like that was omitted.



    This thread in particular had me going. It's the only thread I have participated in, and I only stumbled upon it because was trying to determine if the mini-adventure with Yurek, Twombley and Nelson was fact or fiction. It runs out it was fiction, but it did serve its purpose.



    <a href="http://www.cinemayhem.com/Cineforum/Forum18/HTML/000038.html"; target="_blank">http://www.cinemayhem.com/Cineforum/Forum18/HTML/000038.html</a>;
  • Reply 11 of 48
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    So weird. I'm stuck in between the people who have shrugged it off because it is a piece of American propaganda and the people who think the movie was unfitting because it wasn't pinpoint accurate according to personal anecdote. Yeesh!



    That solitaire is a firecracker!



    In the faaaaaar left corner...In the faaaaar right corner!



    EDIT: And she's getting paranoid about my identity!



    [ 01-19-2002: Message edited by: Eugene ]</p>
  • Reply 12 of 48
    synsyn Posts: 329member
    Disclaimer: I have neither seen the movie nor read the book, and anticipate seeing the movie for I have read *very* good reviews from sources I trust.



    However, the problem is not the movie in itself. The problem is with the american public. The trauma caused by the Sept 11th attacks is enduring, and IMHO, the release of this movie along with the more recent "Behind enemy lines" is done because of a demand there wasn't before. (I say release, not making)



    The movie can be as objective as you want, it can even criticize american policy as much as it wants, the underlying problem is that, for the most part, the American public doesn't even know where Somalia is, let alone have knowledge about Somalia's history, culture etc. Thus, once again, just like with Pearl Harbor, a vast majority of people's education regarding those events will be done through this movie. That's what's wrong. I am confident the movie will be good, true to facts and not overly hollywoodesque. However, people's ignorance might make it a problem for some minorities



    [ 01-19-2002: Message edited by: SYN ]</p>
  • Reply 13 of 48
    That is what I am saying, and what my Somali friends fear.



    [quote] I think people should watch the movie before making snap judgements at all. Before simply pasting someone else words into this thread, you should watch the film and come to your own conclusions. This is all I ask...

    Kind of reminds me of this photo in a way. Some of use are individuals...and some of us are groupsiduals, I guess.

    <hr></blockquote>



    I think other opinions count. Even more so when they are the people in question! My friends father was one of the few Minneapolis Somalis who saw the movie. I think his opinion counts more than mine or yours because HE WAS THERE!!
  • Reply 14 of 48
    paulpaul Posts: 5,278member
    My take on the movie:



    It really woke me up to the reality of war. I'm only 17, I have read some (anti)war books like All Quiet on the Western Front and Slaughterhouse-Five and seeing this movie has made me about as anti-war as I can get. It was kind of funny, I went to see it because these 2 girls wanted to see one of the actors because they thought he was good looking. They were in for a surprise...

    One part that struck me inparticular was towards the end after they were in the stadium. Someone was talking about why he was going back out there and how people back in the US don't understand why they go out there-not to kick ass, but for the person next to them. My feeling was if you didn't go out there in the first place you wouldn't have to go back out there and save their ass! But who knows, that's just me...

    -Paul
  • Reply 15 of 48
    a10t2a10t2 Posts: 191member
    Read the book a few years ago, haven't seen the movie yet.



    Assuming the plot is more or less true to the book, one of the things I liked most about it is that it doesn't say that the troops were "badasses" (though they were), but lets you draw that conclusion for yourself. I also felt that it did a great job of conveying a lot of what soldiering is about: having faith that when you're called upon to do your duty, you will be able to because you and every other man in your unit have been trained to do so.



    The question you have to ask yourself before you get all moist over the civilians who died is, why were the Rangers put in the position of having to kill them? Because the Somalis cut off their means of escape. Does anyone seriously believe that the Americans would have gone in with guns blazing and cut down anything that moved if they had encountered no resistance?
  • Reply 16 of 48
    paulpaul Posts: 5,278member
    [quote]Originally posted by a10t2:

    <strong>it doesn't say that the troops were "badasses" (though they were), but lets you draw that conclusion for yourself. </strong><hr></blockquote>



    the 18 year old (there was so much info going around, I barely caught faces let alone names to go with them) blackbird i think his name was? anyways, he says he was there to "kick some ass" so... But that was only one kid. There was one or 2 other allusions to people saying that they were being badasses, but I don't think that was the central point of the movie...
  • Reply 17 of 48
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    The question you have to ask yourself before you get all moist over the civilians who died is, why were the Rangers put in the position of having to kill them? Because the Somalis cut off their means of escape. Does anyone seriously believe that the Americans would have gone in with guns blazing and cut down anything that moved if they had encountered no resistance?



    Not a single claim was made that the soldiers killed an overwhelming number of civilians. They killed more than a thousand Somalism, most of which were likely armed and hostile.



    the 18 year old (there was so much info going around, I barely caught faces let alone names to go with them) blackbird i think his name was? anyways, he says he was there to "kick some ass" so... But that was only one kid. There was one or 2 other allusions to people saying that they were being badasses, but I don't think that was the central point of the movie...



    This is where the argument between the Hartnett characer and the other character comes into fruition. Hartnett says he's there to "make a difference." The other guy says he's there to "kick some ass." You aren't supposed to believe either of them. The movie does not focus on the grater operation.



    [ 01-20-2002: Message edited by: Eugene ]</p>
  • Reply 18 of 48
    Holy shit! That was McGreggor? Damn it, I didnt even recognize him. Hes such a friggin good actor.



    As for the movie, I think that the atmosphere was perfect (what do you expect, they had Ridley Scott directing), the action was amazing, but over all it was borring. I suppose this is why I dont like War Movies, they throw so much action at you that it levels off and just gets dull.



    Parts I really did like though were the bits with the Delta Force (damn, they really didnt get enough into their character though, in the book there was always this sense about them that war was awful, but it had to be done. In the movie it was just "lets kill"), and the Samalians explaining about the war.

    I think that it could have used some more politics and less standing there with bullets whizzing about, but over all it was really good.
  • Reply 19 of 48
    I saw the movie last night. It made me tired. It was really good, but it was really intense. Some of the acting is quite good, though. Ewan McGregor is really good, and this movie actually redeemed Josh Hartnett in my eyes. It was sort of like what Fight Club did for Brad Pitt, I think. It sort of un-did the damage from all the teenybopper crap they've done before.



    At any rate I went to B&N today and got the book. I'm interested in seeing how they relate. I think one of my favorite parts of the movie was the way it depicted the brotherhood and camraderie amongst them, and it wasn't just a shoot-em-up Schwartezeneggar flick. It went beyond the tired war movie cliché and made you interested in the characters themselves. That's why I totally dug this movie, even though I'm not a big fan usually of the war movie genre. Most of the characters were really, really likeable too.



    I went with a friend of mine who just got out of basic training, and he laughed his ass off at some of the things that were said, i guess inside jokes I missed. It makes you really respect the guys who are out there fighting, even if it does make you a little wary of war and the military in general.
  • Reply 20 of 48
    glurxglurx Posts: 1,031member
    What the author of the book <a href="http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/019/living/He_s_where_the_action_is-.shtml"; target="_blank">is up to</a>.
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