Michael F. from BARDSTOWN, KY Reviewed on 4/11/2011...
This movie was one of those movies you keep walking past but never getting , then when you get the movie and watch it it usualy sucks , but this movie is awesome and worth every penny
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Daniel A. (Daniel) from EUGENE, OR Reviewed on 2/8/2010...
Bale delivers a great performance, as typical, but this film lacks momentum as soon as they escape the compound. Like most war movies, I really don't find this very intriguing. Zahn also delivers a semi-solid performance. Nothing new here.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
JoAnna S. from WAUPACA, WI Reviewed on 1/16/2010...
A great guy movie.
'If it is full, empty it. If it is empty, fill it.'
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 11/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"So speaks Dieter Dengler when asked for comment at the end of his journey of jungle captivity in Laos. RESCUE DAWN is as much about the courage and fortitude of a captured soldier during wartime as it is about a true incident. From the inherent optimism of pilot Dieter Dengler (played with commitment and finesse by Christian Bale) the story transcends biopic and offers lessons for life in general; the human spirit can be indefatigable.
Writer/director Werner Herzog has expanded his 1997 documentary about Dieter Dengler and in doing so he has provided us entry into the psyches of soldiers captured by the enemy and the extraordinarily trying conditions in which they survive. The optimistic and eager Dengler is sent on a classified mission to bomb certain targets in Laos in 1965 with his fellow pilots including his best friend Spook (Toby Huss). Denlger is shot down and captured, interrogated, tortured, and placed in a prison with fellow inmates Duane (Steve Zahn in a career changing superb performance), Gene (the emaciated and excellent Jeremy Davies), Phisit (Abhijati 'Meuk' Jusakul), and Procet (Lek Chaiyan Chunsuttiwat). The living conditions are deplorable: the men are starved, chained together making even the possibility of caring for bodily functions negligible, and the moral is low. Dengler changes that using his ingenuity and immediately plans for escape. Duane aids Dengler but Gene fears the consequences of an aborted escape attempt. Yet with Dengler's expertise and cunning the escape into the jungle is planned and is essentially successful - until the other enemy (the jungle) reduces the forces to one. As Dengler is rescued he is left with the ghosts of his fellow inmates, a factor that will haunt him and alter his life after rescue.
Christian Bale's performance is near perfect as are the performances by Zahn and Davies. The film feels too long at times but that also suggests that director Herzog wants the audience to understand the mental deterioration and stagnant time cycle that cripples prisoners of war. The atmosphere of the prison camp is presented well and if the ending of the film becomes a bit too 'Hollywood', after the 2+ hours of prison confinement that is somewhat of a relief. RESCUE DAWN is a powerful film with some of the best acting of the year's crop and certainly deserves the attention of a wide audience. Grady Harp, November 07 "
R. M. Williams | tucson, arizona USA | 11/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A very good movie. unlike any war, vietnam, or prisoner of war story i can remember watching or reading. it is the story of Dieter Dengler, the only US Navy pilot to escape from the Pathet Lao.
The story is a contrast of opposing ways of looking at both the world and yourself. Dengler's vs. two other prisoners in the camp, one of resignation, the other one an outward optimism (rescue will come before the rainy season starts), but really another form of resignation and pessimism (because it isn't joined to action but to waiting).
What i find extraordinary is not the survival of people in such awful conditions, but how a single person, sustaining what really is an absurd optimism can uplift and motivate the whole group.
I think this is the message that the director wishes people to take home, optimism maybe misplaced, but without it hope flees. It is better to be an out of place foolish optimist then to resign yourself to your surroundings and give up.
It is an extraordinary message and it is provided to us in the movie with forcefulness and with a subdued passion for life that really ought to rub off on each viewer as she/he looks at their lives and says "things really aren't that bad", "i just need to get moving in the right direction", "with the right attitude-like Dengler's".
Where do people like this come from? How do they sustain their optimism in situations that destroy other people? If i can't be that person, how do i get to meet one and learn from watching them?
It is a worthwhile to own movie, i can only imagine what Dengler was like in person from watching the movie, i've never personally met anyone quite like him. so i'm glad i "met" him in the movie."
If you want nonstop action, go elsewhere...
Asa Fisk | Chicago, IL | 11/25/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I decided to pick up Rescue Dawn on Blu-ray as a blind buy after reading so many positive reviews of the film. Overall, I was not disappointed!
First off, trailers for the DVD on television will make the movie appear to be packed with action. It's not. It's a character driven drama more than anything else, so if that's not what you're looking for go snatch up Die Hard 4 (another great movie). What I found truly compelling is that you could see the characters' actual physical and mental changes throughout the story - especially Christian Bale's - and thus feel more emotionally attached to the characters and their fates. Aside from the story itself, the movie looks beautiful in high definition (lots of lush green jungle scenes) and is very tastefully shot. The sound is quite nice, too, although I don't have an audio rig capable of playing the DTS-HD soundtrack.
Overall, I'd definitely recommend this to fans of drama or war movies."
Rescue Dawn - War Drama Based on a Real POW
Mark | East Coast | 12/18/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Rescue Dawn is unique among war films. It's not the fast paced action thriller of so many fictionalized war movies, yet it offers the story of a real man told tastefully through suspense and drama. For those looking for graphic battle gore, this isn't the movie for you. If you can take the time to study and appreciate how a horrendous situation can impact a man's thoughts and identity, you will find a lot to learn from here.
Christian Bale plays Dieter Dengler, a pilot shot down at the onset of the Vietnam War in neighboring Laos. He miraculously survives the crash and has to contend with his capture and reeducation by his communist captors. He is eventually taken to a camp where there are other Americans. The rest of the plot, while long, is best experienced without an outline.
Bale's acting is great. The supporting cast is equally as impressive, especially Steve Zahn as Duane and Jeremy Davies as Gene. The lush rain-forest is also a character in this movie, and the cinematography beautifully captures one of the world's most awe-inspiring and dangerous places.
The story was previously told in Werner Herzog's documentary, "Little Dieter Needs to Fly." Little Dieter Needs to Fly The script is nicely written, but much of it still comes across as a documentary. The director uses suspense and time to convey the anxiety of the situation. That's part of the reason wider film audiences are turned off or left wanting more.
I suspect that this movie would have had more visual impact in theatres. Unfortunately, it never reached wide theatrical release in the USA. The closest viewing most of us can have is to try to see the Blu-Ray version, which is visually stunning.
Ultimately, what will a man do to survive such an ordeal? What would you do to survive? This movie is a careful study that will appeal to film lovers. It isn't pro or against anything. It is simply the story of one man's ordeal. "