Say again... Why is this movie bad?
25 April 2004
In my opinion, this is the best movie about war ever made. It surpasses even such masterpieces as Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan or Stone's Platoon. Reading comments on this website, I came to conclusion there is no middle way (there are exceptions, of course) with this movie; or you love it or you hate it. Well, I love it. I can't agree with arguments given by people who hated it, furthermore, I can't even understand most of them, which mainly are:

A - Movie is too one-sided. Now, I never saw a war movie where both sides would be equally presented. In Saving Private Ryan we don't get to know Germans. In Platoon we don't get to know Vietcong. In Thin Red Line we don't get to know Japanese etc, etc. In a battle, you take care about yourself and your comrades, not about a person who is shooting at you, whether you will make his children orphans or not. There are complaints that Somalis are presented as angry, blood-thirsty mob. Well, according to the book, they did act semi-suicidal, without any knowledge about combat tactics, so on numerous occasion they ended up shooting their own people. No wonder why number of their casualties was so high.

B - Movie is flag-waving, recruitment ad, pro-war. First, to let you know, I'm NOT an American. Sure, it's patriotic, but what's wrong with that? I always thought patriotism is a value. If someone is confusing patriotism with nationalism, that's his problem. Some say it didn't address bigger picture, why Americans went in Somalia in the first place. But BHD didn't have these ambitions. It's about brotherhood in arms, not political thriller about US foreign policy. Like Bowden stated in his book: "Soldiers cannot concern themselves with the decisions that bring them to a fight. They trust their leaders not to risk their lives for too little. Once the battle is joined, they fight to survive, to kill before they are killed." It seems some people refuse to realize the movie is telling a story of America's elite soldiers in that particular event, from their point of view. However, there is a subtle message about uselessness of US engagement in Somalia, it's just not in a form of some angry speech, given by a bitter soldier. I also don't understand how this movie is pro-war. Don't know about you, but I wouldn't put images of Rangers being blown to pieces in a recruitment ad if I would be making one.

C - Poor character development. Now, I can partly agree with this statement, but it's necessary to point out, movie isn't a character study. Sure, Hartnett has a leading role which should be more developed, but movie is more focused on course of battle in Mog as such, on showing a perspective of many involved, so there really isn't much room for detailed personal portrait. Some say, it's hard to identify with characters when we know so little about them. In this movie, this doesn't seem to be the case. I found BHD very emotional movie. Acting is very good, facial expressions and acts of soldiers showed us anxiety, fear, courage, sacrifice, grief etc. For many, Eric Bana as Hoot was too Rambo-type, but his character is based on real-life Delta who really was a tough guy (read the book). The music was also excellent to spur on emotions.

Of course, movie isn't perfect, but show me the one which is. US soldiers are just too nice, you-gotta-love-them types, dialogue is poor. But apart from that, it's visually perfect, as realistic as it gets, pure chaos and confusion, just like war really is. Most of the time it's like documentary. Sometimes images say more than a thousand words. Here, they say more than enough.
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