Ridley Scott has had one hell of a career. Directing Alien and Thelma & Louise would be enough for most directors to take it easy, but even into his eighties the man is helming epics like 2023's Napoleon. Well, it was right after another blockbuster, Gladiator, that he was in the director's chair again for the stunning Black Hawk Down. Talk about having the golden touch.
Black Hawk Down is set to leave Netflix (one of the best streaming services) on the 1st of February, and before then you need to make time to watch it. Now after Napoleon, we all know Ridley loves a long movie (and this is another at 144 minutes) but please clear out an evening in your diary and give this film the attention it deserves. It's not one for a light-hearted night, but it is a sobering take on the bleakness of war.
Set in 1992 in civil-war Somalia, we follow an astonishingly stacked cast of US soldiers including Ewan McGregor, Josh Hartnett, Eric Bana, Jason Isaacs, Orlando Bloom and even a baby-faced Tom Hardy. The titular Black Hawk is (sorry to disappoint any ornithologists) not a bird but a helicopter, shot down by an RPG, leaving the surviving crew in an incredibly difficult situation.
Given the sheer number of characters we are introduced to, it's a little bit trick to develop all of them but as a filmmaking spectacle, it's hard to argue with this movie. It won Oscars for Best Film Editing and Best Sound and deservedly so, plus boasts an impressive 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. Even over twenty years later, it more than holds up to more modern war films.
And what gives its harrowing depiction of events even more gravitas, is that it's all based on a true story, documented in Mark Bowden's 1999 book of the same name. If you're after another brilliant war movie, then your best bet is The Hurt Locker which is streaming on Sky in the UK and on Prime Video in the US.
US viewers can watch Black Hawk Down on Paramount Plus.