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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 30 September 2008
Neither have I. I felt an attraction to this film for the simple reason Christian bale was in it. I have never been let down by his performance in any film and i expected no less in this one. I was vaguely aware of Werner Herzog's previous films but, i'll be honest, documentaries and such don't fare well with me. This was to my mind a pre-Vietnam war film that would tell an acute story of survival and hope/fear.
I wasn't disappointed. Bale is excellent and carries the entire film, right from the initial sequences of boyish innocence and anticipation straight through the scenes of torture (some of which are quite harrowing in their simplicity) to the heart-rending climax.
Its one of those films that you watch and simply, without question, appreciate. The cinematography is astounding, the music haunting and beautiful, the characterisations all spot on, the emotional core a resolute solidarity.
Its not a comedy, but there are some wonderful human moments where you can't help but smile. Yes, i stand by my review. Its an excellent film and well worth a look.
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on 9 May 2008
This incredible Werner herzog film follows the true story of US Navy pilot Dieter Dengler, a native of Germany who went to the US as a 17 year old with no english. He became impassioned to become a pilot when he made eye contact with an American Fighter Pilot who was flying low over his Black Forest village as a child during WW2. Dieter became embroiled in the nascent Vietnam conflict and was shot down over his first mission, a secret bombing run into Laos. He is captured and tortured by the Vietcong. He is offered reprieve from torture if he signs a pro communist disclaimer-he refuses.
Christian Bale as usual gives an outstanding performance of a most resourceful ebullient character who even finds time to smile at a child when being dragged into the village. He flirts with a female guard to keep a chunk of mirror that he uses in a periscope. Whilst in prison, he meets Steve Zahn's character, another pilot shot down as well as Jeremy Davies whose sanity is all but gone. Dieter motivated the prisoners and successfully breaks out of the camp, but the real prison is the formidable jungle terrain between them and safety.
I defy anyone not to have a lump in their throat and a tear in their eye about this amazing man who had no room for hatred or pettiness. This film is a bolt of spirituality. Also look out for the excellent real life documentary on Dieter Dengler in the bonus features.
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on 28 April 2008
Based on a true story `Rescue Dawn' follows downed fighter pilot Dieter as he is captured and held prisoner by the Vietcong in the time just before the Americans official entered the war. During his time in the prisoner camp he meets others who have been there for over 2 years. Rather than suffer through starvation and madness Dieter decides to plan an escape. With the aid of his new friends Dieter helps bring new hope to a desperate situation. Highlighting the suffering of both the Vietnamese and prisoners of war `Rescue Dawn' proves a powerful watch.

Christian Bale as Dieter is the one of the most remarkable things about this film. He is one of the few actors around at the moment that can reinvent himself in every role. As Dieter he is an eccentric who will try anything and is very charismatic. With a relatively small budget the film works because the cast is so good. Steve Zahn as Duane and Jeremy Davies as Gene also shine making the film feel very intermit, almost like a play at times. This is not to say that Director Werner Herzog does not make the most of his location. The film is beautiful with shots of rich jungle making sure you know that the actors are there for real. The only negative is that it is quite a hard watch because of the dark subject matter and the pace may be too slow for some. However, with such a progressive director and leading actor `Rescue Dawn' is a great film that explores the Vietnam War in an intelligent and entertaining way.
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on 1 December 2008
This is a heart touching, inspiring true story based on Dieter Dengler a german born US citizen during the Vietnam war. After having on a top - secret bombing run over Laos he is shot down and sent to a Vietcong camp, Dieter soon plots revenge against the guards and makes a cunning and inspiring escape plan!

Enough about the movie! More about the transfer! O.K then

Picture: The jungles of the far east are well portrayed in fantastic 1080p the colors are sharp and beautiful and very clear but can be a bit dull and DVD looking at times. 9/10

Audio: The sound is good but at times is unclear and can be difficult to make out the speech (or maybes its Bale's American accent) 8/10

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on 19 March 2008
Why is this a modern day classic I hear you splurt out?!?

My main reason is that the performances are on par with classics such as deer hunter and apocalypse now, the obvious comparisons given its content. Never before have I seen a director obtain and almost gauge out a fabulous performance in a supporting role from an actor who's past credits can only be described as, on the most part, a complete waste of time. Steve Zahn just encapsulates his character's persona with immense effect that its gut wrenching to watch and bleeds you of emotion. Jeremy Davies gives a performance that almost mimics that of his character in Solaris but delivers with immediate effect, he is indeed a very talented and under stated actor. The weight loss that these two actors went through for their roles is astonishing, truly astonishing.

Then of course there is the power house that is known as Bale. This man just does not know how to give a dud performance on any level (although I maybe eating my words if this whole new Terminator franchise he is rumoured to be cast in goes ahead, I shudder at the thought) he is just such a tightly disciplined and intense actor. When we first meet his character Dieter he's a wide eyed pilot with illusions of grandeur but as the movie progresses we see the change in Dieter both mentally and physically. The way that Bale can take a character and take you through every emotion and physical change as if it were you yourself going through these changes is just a master class in the art of acting. The obvious comparisons to other actors are there but remember the name Bale as his films, if they keep to this level of quality, will be around for a very long time.

As for the director Werner Herzog, this is not new and untouched territory for him as it is a dramatised account of a true story upon which he made a documentary about in 1997 called Little Dieter Needs to Fly. This is his first time making this kind of movie but he delivers with ultimate finesse and really does show his versatility as a complete director. The fact that he went through all the things the actors did, including weight loss, eating live snakes etc really shows his dedication to the film making process.

I also have to comment on Peter Zeitlinger's cinematography. The way he captures the plush and absorbing colours of the jungle is just sublime. It really is breathtaking when you see the sweeping shots over Laos, one i would definitely suggest for blu-ray or HD.

If you are a fan of the previous films I have mentioned in this rant......i mean review, then you will not be disappointed in Rescue Dawn.

A wonderful film.
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on 27 November 2007
Best film I have seen in ages, really enjoyed the characters and thought Christian Bale looked like he really enjoyed acting in this film and showed a much nicer side than that of American american psycho. The characters in the film were really good and very individual. As they were pretty much alone and out in the sticks and isolated thought this film was a bit like Castway with Tom Hanks. You get to see Loas which is what attracted me to the film initially. Excellent will watch again soon.
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on 11 April 2008
This has a really old school feel to it, an no I don't mean the Will Ferrell comedy. I mean that the style of film making in more reminiscant of Classic Kubrick or Terrence Malick as opposed to the latter day Speilberg. It looks natural, the images are not affected, or do not appear to be.
The performances are excellent, Christian Bale is always very good but here he excells. His performance seems natural, he stutters he ums and ahs. He makes Deiter Dengler seem like a real person, rather than a fictional view of a real person.
Steve Zahn is very good, maybe even excellent, the haunted look permanantly etched on his face (an affect of a year in a POW camp)marks his performance, he is convinces you he is physically and mebtally frail. Jeremy Davies does a similar job, only his fear and weakness have forged a different kind of strength in him, a super strong desire to survive with as little trouble as possible.
I am not overly familiar with Director Werner Herzog, although I know the name and have seen his 70s version of nosferatu, However he is clearly a very talented director and I will look out for his other works on this strength of this film.
Having said all that the film may be a little plodding for the playstation generation.
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on 12 January 2015
Christian Bale completists only? I had for my sins never heard this tale let alone the movie. Now I shall at some point look out the book it was based on to try and figure out what the fuss was all about.
That aside there were some good moments in this film, heartwarming to see such durable courage and persistence in spite of the harshest odds thrown at men in uniform. However, watching this was a trial not least because of the violence and cruelty. It is beautiful at times with the scenery and all but the dialog is lost in the whispering for a lot of the time. And I could not figure out how to bring up the subtitles. You get some kind of commentary thing but that was not what I was looking for.
For fans of other Nam movies I suggest you do not overlook this film but it left me happy for a moment and then on reflection disappointed but praise for CB's getting into the role.
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VINE VOICEon 20 June 2008
In which renowned German film-maker Walter Herzog returns to two of his favourite themes- Man against nature and madness.Herzog has covered these issues before in such notable films as "Aguirre ,Wrath Of God" , "Fitzcarraldo" and to some extent "Grizzly Man". Rescue Dawn is a dramatic rendering of his 1997 short "Little Dieter Needs To Fly" ,about Vietnam vet Dieter Dengler who was captured by the Viet Cong( indeed he was actually captured twice but this film is based on the second occasion) but escaped and fought through dense jungle crawling with enemy soldiers before being rescued.
The fact that the audience is aware of the outcome does,nt affect the films impact one iota . Herzog still elicits tremendous drama and tension from Denglers plight. In this he is aided considerably by a another impressively committed performance from Christian Bale as Dengler .Bale convincingly portrays a man with the resolute steeliness to survive and flee from the predicament Dengler found himself in. In his determination to escape the prison camp Bale even comes across as a little crazy but his implicit belief that he can escape rubs off on most of his fellow prisoners and they hatch a collective plan.
Talking of committed performances Steve Zahn as Duane Martin and Jeremy Davies as Gene De Bruin , as two of Dengler,s fellow prisoners show astounding commitment to the project .They are both , like Bale himself in the film "The Machinist" emaciated beyond belief. The actors lost the weight before the film so Bale could gain it back as the shoot went on so the narrative was shot in reverse.Martin is galvanised by Denglers positive attitude and his ability to utilise their environment to make escape possible. De Bruin has became institutionalised and views Dengler as a danger to what he feels is their comfortable status quo. Which is clearly nuts as some of their guards are borderline psychotic especially the one they have dubbed "Little Hitler" ( Teerrawat Muluilai)
This version of events has been challenged by Jerry De Bruin , the brother of Gene and one of the other surviving prisoners and Herzog has conceded that had he known he would have re-written the script to incorporate points about De Bruin they raised but by then it was too late. None the less this is a commendable film with some truly stunning imagery( The opening on board shots of a US bomber strafing Vietnamese villages is both shocking and beautiful) fantastic performances and a moving ending . Some may find this film a little gruelling but for anyone with a passing interest in the human capacity for survival i recommend it highly . My only real gripe is the title. Rescue Dawn imply,s ....well a rescue i suppose but watching this it,s clear the only person responsible for Dieter Dengler,s survival is himself.
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It's a pity about "Rescue Dawn"'s misleading title and advertising campaign because it's a really good movie which easily holding its own amongst other classic prisoner movies. Probably most similar to the great "Papillon" (with a little "Shawshank" optimism thrown in) "Rescue Dawn" tells the true story of Dieter Denger (Christian Bale), a German born US navy pilot downed in Vietnam on his maiden mission. Bale reprises his size zero "Machinist" look to great effect and method acts his way through leaches, worms, snakes and other assorted jungle based edible goodies. The film was shot - in reverse (Bale starts skinny and feeds himself up) - in just 44 days in Thailand. Even a slightly out of place, gung ho, cheerleading finale can't ruin a beautifully shot old school classic.
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