Friday, January 2, 2015

Shoot. Down. The Helicopters.

In Charlie Wilsons' War, Ned Beatty (as Doc Long) speaks to the Afghan freedom fighters saying, "We're going to see that you have guns, and we're going to see that you have training....Every last one of these Russian gunships is going to be blown right out of the sky!"

The Afghan people cheer Congressman Long's speech, "God is great!  God is great!"

Background music comes up then, the same music as when Wilson and Bonnie Bach traveled to the refugee camp earlier in the film.  The music is mysterious, anxiety-ridden, playing rhythmic undercurrents of hope and tragedy. 

While the music plays, we see a plane flying in blue skies;
supplies tied up in large bundles being pushed out of the plane, falling, parachute opening and slowing the fall...

donkeys (mules?) with supplies across their backs stepping strongly on a path over rough terrain;

military vehicles navigating winding mountain roads;

helicopter flying over, shooting something on the ground, bam

--------------- then it's the scene with Charlie Wilson alone in his apartment in Washington, D.C.,  listening to discouraging news -- "the mujahideen are pinned down"...

after that scene, we see a helicopter, hovering low over the sandy-beige land in Afghanistan

Then we see an Afghan man saying to Congressman Wilson, "Don't give us rice and bandages.  Give us weapons, so that we can shoot down their gunships."


"It's called the MILAN anti-tank missile."

Charlie Wilson -- "Can the Afghans win without it?"
-- "No."
-- "End of discussion.

next scene is Charlie Wilson in Doc Long's Office --
Charlie -- I would like to have the previously approved sum increased by an additional 30 million, bringing the total appropriation to 70 million.

back to Langley:
"I'd like to introduce the MILAN anti-tank missile.  We're got 300 in the field."
Everyone -- "Yeah!"
Mike Vickers -- Yep.  Let's kill some Russians!


clouds of dust,
clouds of smoke


An informal group of congressmen off in a corner, talking.

Congressman Wilson -- Voting to pump up the money for the freedom fighters is the only way for the northeastern liberal to prove that he's serious.

Another congressman -- How much are you asking for?
Charlie Wilson -- I'd want to go from 70 million to 100 million.  And if you vote for me, I can deliver the Black Caucus for the farm subsidy.


Parachutes unfurling in a sunny sky.

An older Afghan man kneeling on a mat, on the ground (looks like beige sand).
Next to his mat is another mat, with a big gun on it.
The man kneels and bows, several times, in prayer.

A fleet of helicopters taking off.
The pilots talk to each other through some type of hands-free radio system.

"Happy hunting."

"No birds but us.  Killing season!"

We see two Afghan guys with what we assume is a MILAN anti-tank missile.

Russian pilot, speaking into his radio -- "You're hot in the front."

The helicopter fires repeatedly WHAM-AH--WHAM-AH--WHAM-AH upon running civilians below.

The two Afghan men with their new gun run out from behind some underbrush and watch the helicopters.  The one with the gun takes aim and fires.  The two of them watch, riveted; hope and desperation fuel a sort of manic energy which the audience perceives even though the two men are standing still.

The one Russian pilot is talking to the other, kind of snickering a little bit about some woman he has been dating:  "What does she mean by serious relationship?  Monogamous?"  He chuckles.

Then his helicopter bursts into a swirling airborne cauldron of angry flame, as the Afghans' new ammunition makes contact.

The pilots stop talking about girlfriends at this point, & start talking about how to get out.

"Break left!"
"Get out!"
"They've got something down there!"

The beleaguered Afghan people are finally "shooting down the helicopters," as Congressman Charlie Wilson had hoped.


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