Review - "Rescue Dawn" DVD
Rescue Dawn (PG-13)
I was recently offered the chance to preview the DVD of the movie “Rescue Dawn”. In exchange for a free copy of the DVD all I had to do was talk about it on my blog. Cool!
From the liner notes:
“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 (Christian Bale) 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 as a true statement to the impossible boundaries of the human condition and the invincibility of the American spirit.”
So, after having watched the movie twice and everything else there is to see on the DVD I must say I am impressed! This is a fantastic movie with performances by Christian Bale, Steve Zahn and Jeremy Davies that quite frankly were more than just believable – in part because of the incredible condition of starvation they had to achieve for this film one never doubts that they ARE the characters they portray.
Although the story takes place at the beginning of the Vietnam War it isn’t really about the war and politics is not mentioned at all. It isn’t even about being in prison per se… that is the real achievement of the film – it transcends all of these things and becomes instead a look into the spirit of Dieter Dengler and how his self reliance, intelligence and benevolent sense of life allows him to not only survive the privations and torture of a prison camp but to improve the conditions for all of the prisoners in the camp and eventually to help them all to escape.
One of the things that struck me was that there was very little graphic torture that has become almost expected in prison films of this type. Nevertheless you know that the prisoners are suffering and the tension is palpable – without focusing on violence gratuitously. Another thing is that the director, Werner Herzog says he want the audience to trust their eyes – meaning there are no tricks, computer affects, etc… unless absolutely necessary as in the scene of the plane crash. Everything else you see is REAL. It does make a difference when you watch it.
This is a truly amazing piece of cinematography and I encourage all to see it. Not just because of the excellent story, but for the uplifting view of man the intelligent and moral being. Herzog and company have achieved a real film of value in “Rescue Dawn.”