Back during the 2001-2002 awards season, I went to see Ridley Scott's 'Black Hawk Down' a total of 7 times in the theater- a total no films has passed since. Needless to say, I was caught in the moment and it was named my picture of the year. Now, six years later, I rewatched a story that capture my being and realized what clicked with me.
'Black Hawk Down' was the kind of film that is patriotic and not as the same time. Distincting America's failures (and eventual triumph), the film shows a lot of "what ifs?" in the setting of modern combat- something that is definitely relevant in today's headlines. The story of various soldiers with very different background becoming comrades in mission has worked in cinema for decades, but what sets 'Black Hawk Down' different for me is that there are no promise of light at the end of the tunnel until it actually reaches there.
It also boasts, at the time, what is a very up and coming group of actors. Ewan McGregor, Hugh Dancy, Orlando Bloom, Eric Bana, Ioan Gruffudd, Ron Eldard, Ewen Bremner and a pre-'Entourage' Jeremy Piven all carried the ensemble. Which brings us to Josh Hartnett. I believe 'Black Hawk Down' was his greatest film and greatest performance to date, but to see his resume and profile dropped significantly since then is a disappointment.
I do encourage others to go back and look at this film and see how it influenced Scott's later work, specifically 'American Gangster' and 'Kingdom of Heaven' with different results. You just don't need to watch it 7 times.