Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
San Jose Mercury News:
Invokes a ferocious cinema-verite style to make us not only see, but also feel, the destructive power of modern warfare.
Detroit Free Press:
Except for the opening 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan and the middle 45 of Pearl Harbor -- produced, like this film, by action overlord Jerry Bruckheimer -- no film has ever dropped us so convincingly into combat.
Los Angeles Times:
A triumph of pure filmmaking, a pitiless, unrelenting, no-excuses war movie so thoroughly convincing it's frequently difficult to believe it is a staged re-creation.
Black Hawk Down sends you away impressed, properly horrified and then thoughtful about the lessons ignored from the battle it exhaustively describes.
A first-rate war movie that presents its subject so horrifyingly well that it doesn't need to probe or preach.
The Somalians feel like props, something to be plugged at a shooting gallery.
A good, intense war movie that falls short of being a great one: Once the adrenaline wears off, you realize it's as dramatically satisfying as an MRE food ration.
I also don't know how well this 2001 drama represents the events of October 3 and 4, 1993, though I can see that it represents them in a realist vein, referring to other war movies without becoming frivolous.
Black Hawk Down has a relentless force that makes character development almost beside the point.
Look out, everybody: Two of the most pandering, tactless filmmakers in Hollywood history are now teaching us about honor among soldiers.
Scott keeps bringing home the shocks, using light and sound to underscore the visual tumult.
Driven by scenes of gripping, unflinching battle, touched by the director's talent for communicating through the colors he chooses.
Globe and Mail:
Black Hawk Down is all dazzling craft and no redeeming art; it's simultaneously a superb piece of filmmaking and a highly suspect film.
New York Magazine/Vulture:
It represents a particularly limiting application of hard-bitten manly values to experiences that can't help but transcend them.
New York Observer:
Limbs explode, guts spill and blood splatters in an endurance test that is numbing, but nothing new.
New York Observer:
Something is lost in emotional power with a collective, almost abstract hero with whom one cannot make eye contact in the way one does with single-hero narratives.
One hell of a ride. For better or for worse, it will leave you stunned and reeling.
Films like this are more useful than gung-ho capers like Behind Enemy Lines. They help audiences understand and sympathize with the actual experiences of combat troops, instead of trivializing them into entertainments.
It's every bit as harrowing -- and also every bit as pointless and misguided -- as the botched military mission it depicts.
San Francisco Chronicle:
I can think of no other instance when a country at war has presented on its movie theater screens such an excruciating account of battle, or such a sobering one.
Black Hawk Down superbly visualizes journalist-author Mark Bowden's bestselling 'tale of modern war,' detailing a U.S. military misadventure in the Somalia of 1993.
Black Hawk Down makes that point without preachment, in precise and pitiless imagery. And for that reason alone it takes its place on the very short list of the unforgettable movies about war and its ineradicable and immeasurable costs.
[Scott] does a reasonable job sketching the complicated and contradictory political context, but attempts to bring in the odd Somali perspective are grossly inadequate.
No war movie I have ever seen so vividly shows battle from differing perspectives.
A relentless immersion in combat strikingly realized but none too pleasurable to sit through.
A studied composition in flying debris, fleeing crowds, and detached limbs.