Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Rescue Dawn (2006)

Director: Werner Herzog

Starring: Christian Bale, Steve Zahn, Jeremy Davies

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: A true story of survival... declassified.

Plot: In the early days of what would become the Vietnam War, a US fighter pilot (Dieter Dengler (Bale)) is shot down on a secret mission over Laos. He is captured and placed in a make-shift POW camp where he relentlessly plots the escape of his fellow inmates from day one.

My Rating: 7/10
Would I watch it again? No. Once was fine.

I love me some war movies. Even those of the POW variety. One of my favorite films is STALAG 17 (1953) and TV shows is HOGAN'S HEROES. Obviously this is much different.

Besides the cinematography (which is outstanding) the star of the show is Steve Zahn. Zahn usually plays comedic roles, my favorite being HAPPY, TEXAS (1999). Here I barely recognized him. He's really into the role so much so that you lose the actor and see the character. Bale is great, as always, as is Davies (who plays a Manson-esque POW). According to imdb everyone lost a few pounds to lend authenticity to their parts.
Here's the score:

Davies: lost 33 pounds
Zahn: lost 40 pounds
Bale: lost 55 pounds

Hell, the director, Herzog, even lost 30 pounds. The most noticeable weight loss comes from Davies (see pic above). But he's been pretty trim all along. Bale gains/loses weight as fast as Oprah and Zahn is fully clothed with a full beard so you don't see the results as much.

The film is based on the true story of Dengler which Herzog brought to the screen in the documentary, LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY (1997). I'm looking forward to seeing it as I could end up liking it more than RD. Rescue Dawn is good but my big gripe about it is that I was never pulled into the story. It's a good story with beautiful location shooting, very good performances and, not knowing the outcome, some suspense and drama. I wasn't moved/touched by it and, considering the type of film it is, I wanted to be. Nothing. Maybe it was me or the moment. I don't know. All I know is it wasn't happening and I felt that detracted from the film. I'm keen to see the documentary, though. Maybe there I'll find what I'm looking for.

So what do I do to fix that? I watch BLOODY MAMA (1970), that's what.

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