Rescue Dawn

March 6th, 2007 DVD Reviews, Film, Xpress

Last time a European director came down so in favour of American values, Dutchman Paul Verhoeven unleashed Showgirls onto an unsuspecting world. While watching Rescue Dawn, you keep waiting for director Werner Herzog to say something cutting and critical of the US establishment, but he’s not the America-skewering Dane Lars von Trier, and his intent seems all there on the screen with little subtext about US foreign policy.

Rescue Dawn is based on the true story of the rescue of US navy pilot Dieter Dengler after being shot down in Vietnam, escaping from captivity and wandering the jungle for months afterwards. Despite racking up one great role after another, Christian Bale looks less than comfortable as the idealistic American flyboy.

With the help of Bale’s increasing onscreen confidence in leading roles, Herzog wields the camera to achieve a taut, urgent tone not simply like it’s a war-zone documentary but through a warped, almost fish-eye lens that brings every surrounding into frighteningly close relief.

But despite several genuine scenes of Duane and Dieter’s waning strength and resolve and the realisation they might go mad or die out here, Rescue Dawn could have been a flag-waving Michael Bay movie without the pyrotechnics budget.

Extras include a few deleted scenes and still galleries as well as Herzog’s commentary.


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