In 1965, an American pilot on a top secret bombing mission was shot down over Laos and taken to a hellish prison camp deep in the impenetrable jungle of Vietnam. What followed was one of the most remarkable and harrowing experiences of the entire Vietnam War. Inspired by the true story of Dieter Dengler and written and directed by internationally acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog, Rescue Dawn is an uncanny tale of camaraderie and betrayal, courage in the face of despair and triumph over tragedy. It stands a true testament to the impossible boundaries of the human condition and the invincibility of the American spirit.
One of the many mysteries of 2007 include why this
Wener Herzog film never got a theatrical release in Singapore.
The leading man is a certain Christian Bale (he’s The
Dark Knight, for god’s sake). The war movie features
a generous share of action (cue bombs, fights, explosions).
The German director is a critically acclaimed filmmaker who
has his loyal fan base already. Enough gripes already, we
hear you say. As the saying goes, it’s better late than
exhilarating film is based on the true life account of Dieter
Dengler, an American pilot whose plane was hit and crashed
into the jungle during a secret mission to bomb Laos in 1965.
He got captured and tortured as a prisoner of war by the local
peasants. He then met other prisoners and became close to
them. One day, he planned an escape with a fellow prisoner
and the picture follows their trials and tribulations as they
ventured through the unforgiving jungle.
first thing you’d notice about the film is how frighteningly
realistic the actors look like they have been tortured as
prisoners of war. Their scrawny bodies and skinny physiques
make them look like they have been suffering under the menacing
enemies. Besides Bale who delivers an engaging performance
(he whispers a lot in this movie, if you must really point
out), the supporting cast does a fine job too. Who knew Steve
Zahn (Chicken Little, Sahara) could deliver so well as a serious
actor? You believe his intensities and fears as he trudges
through the thick jungles for survival. And Jeremy Davies
(if you find him vaguely familiar, he’s Daniel from
the TV series “Lost”) is almost disturbing as
the mentally unstable prisoner of war who plans to foil the
escape. These three men helm the stage to make your eyes glued
to the screen for the entire 126 minute runtime of the film.
Herzog makes a movie that is so compelling and powerful, you’d
feel for the men who are trapped in the jungle. The harsh
conditions and environment are so well played out, you’d
begin to wonder how you’d react if it was you stuck
in the situation. The scary thing is, this actually happened
in 1965 during the Vietnam war, and men have been subject
to these conditions. If there’s one thing movie like
that can tell us, it’s how man can do anything under
the most unkind and unforgiving situations, just to survive.
this may look like your big budget Hollywood movie with big
cast and loud explosions, but at its heart is a movie about
mankind’s toughest moments.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
There is quite a substantial amount of special features
on this Code 3 DVD. In the Commentary by Director
Werner Herzog and Interviewer Norman Hill, we get
a no nonsense question and answer commentary where Hill asks
and Herzog replies. It starts off with Herzog talking about
how the historical footage makes the film look un-Hollywood,
and following that is how movie making need not be a fact
by fact account of what really happened in history.
Unfinished Business: Telling Dieter’s Story
is a four minute segment where Herzog narrates Dieter’s
personality and how the film is about optimism, courage and
Strength of Character is a nine minute segment where
Bale talks about how tough the filming was under the harsh
and, note this, real (bring on the snakes, swamps and mud)
jungle conditions. Together with Herzog, they talk about how
the real Dieter has a personality which we should look upon.
The 24 minute War Stories is a gritty and
rough featurette which brings you behind the scenes of the
movie where no digital effects were used to achieve the conditions.
You’d see how Herzog is a hands on director who gets
his own hands dirty when it comes to trudging through rivers
What Would Dieter Do? is a seven minute which talks
about the conflict and tension between the prisoners of war.
This showcases the great performances of the cast members.
There are 3 Deleted Scenes with a total runtime
of six minutes with optional commentary where you hear about
how they made the movie seem too long.
There is also a Photo Gallery and Trailers
of other Sony releases like Hancock, Redbelt and Standard
Operating Procedure included on the disc.
visual transfer complements the grittiness of the movie, while
language options include English, Spanish and Thai Digital
by John Li