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Wednesday, 16 January, 2002, 14:44 GMT
Army attends Hawk première
Josh Harnett stars in Black Hawk Down
Josh Harnett stars in Black Hawk Down
Some of the US army's top men and women have been shown a special Washington première of new movie Black Hawk Down.

Defence secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld took a break from the operations in Afghanistan to join dozens of uniformed officers and watch the fictional re-creation of a deadly US firefight in Somalia.

Some of the movies' stars, including Josh Hartnett and William Fichtner, were also at the Uptown Theatre in Northwest Washington.

The $95m (£66m) film, directed by Ridley Scott, is tipped for Oscar nominations, although it was snubbed by the Golden Globes who did not give it any recognition.

The story chronicles the 1993 mission to stifle civil war in Somalia, which resulted in the grounding of two Black Hawk helicopters and the deaths of 18 Americans.

'Letdown'

The screenplay is based on a book by Mark Bowden.

The film's release was pushed forward amid anticipation fuelled by the current military operation in Afghanistan.

It has been on limited release in the US for the last three weeks, taking more than $1.4m (£974,000) in just 16 theatres.

The movie, which goes on general release across the US and UK on Friday, has split critics.

The Los Angeles Times called it a "thought-provoking, convincing re-creation" but the Hollywood Reporter said was "a major letdown".

The film is expected to knock the Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring off the top of the box office on both sides of the Atlantic.

Change

Director Scott will be hoping it is third time lucky if he gets nominated at the Academy Awards.

He has twice been up for awards for Gladiator and Thelma and Louise, but missed out both times.

Black Hawk Down also stars Ewan McGregor, and he said it is certainly a change of pace from his last starring role, the musical Moulin Rouge.

He said: "I'd always wanted to be in a war film. Because I used to spend a lot of my time running around pretending to be a soldier.

"I don't particularly like guns, but I have to admit that I quite enjoyed firing them."

Fellow British actors Ewan Bremner, Ioan Gruffudd and Matthew Marsden also star.

See also:

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06 Jan 02 | Film
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06 Jan 02 | Film
Tolkien film wins top award
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