Still glowing from his "Gladiator" success, director Ridley Scott is turning his attention to the modern battlefield in an adaptation of Mark Bowden's best-selling book "Black Hawk Down."
Bowden's non-fiction account details the events of October 3, 1993 the day U.S. Rangers and Delta soldiers engaged in a harrowing battle with Somalis in the streets of Mogadishu. The late-afternoon mission to capture two leaders in Mohammad Farid Aidid's clan turned into an overnight firefight, ending the next morning with 18 U.S. soldiers dead and 73 wounded. (The Philadelphia Inquirer's "Black Hawk Down" section has complete coverage.)
The proficiency Scott displayed with "Gladiator's" epic production will serve him well with "Black Hawk's" complex, intense story. He'll be challenged to accurately depict two helicopter crashes, an enormous military convoy, and prolonged urban gunfights. Because the story's events occurred eight years ago, historical accuracy will be paramount. Hollywood's penchant for revisionist history could crack open barely-healed scars. If the filmmakers don't pay heed to the feelings and opinions of the veterans, this film deserves to fail.
The narrative's collection of major and minor characters will require a significant ensemble. Tom Sizemore ("Saving Private Ryan") and Josh Hartnett ("Pearl Harbor") have signed and The Hollywood Reporter says Ewan McGregor and Sam Shepard are in negotiations. Woody Harrelson has been rumored for a small role, but no confirmation has appeared.
Columbia Pictures is releasing "Black Hawk Down" in Oscar-friendly November. While Oscar contention may be the aim of the studio, Scott and his crew should realize they have the opportunity to make a profound statement about modern warfare. If they stay true to Bowden's work they'll show millions of people that technological combat is nothing like a videogame.
For more information on the film visit CineMAYHEM.com.