Rescue DawnMikey 1 comment
Early on into viewing Rescue Dawn I couldn't help but feel I was watching something Christian Bale might have done back when he was Christian Nobody. You know? When an actor finally earns some kudos and acts in some terrific flicks, the studios try to cash in on the celebrity by re-releasing their older films on DVD. I was sucked into this dubious marketing tactic many years ago with a suck fest (the name escapes me now) starring Robert Patrick released to DVD after Terminator 2 which I later found out was made many years before T2.
But I totally get it, because when you start in the acting business you seldom can afford to pick and choose your work.
So I was surprised to learn that Rescue Dawn was not some throwback to the Christian Nobody days, but was actually made in 2006. But it feels and looks like something that could have easily been produced 15 years ago, which in hindsight would actually make Bale a bit too young for the role.
Rescue Dawn is allegedly (I will explain further on why I used that term) the true story of Dieter Dengler (Christian Bale), an air-force pilot shot down during a top secret mission. He was captured and after a few weeks of torture sent to a Vietnamese POW camp where he meets other prisoners, including Gene (Jeremy Davies) who have been there for several years. This is the stage where the story starts to get a little more interesting, with Dengler plotting and devising his escape plan with the other prisoners.
Both Bale and Davies are literal walking skeletons in this movie, who can both be credited for their dedication to realism. Davies in particular looks like he would struggle to tip 50kg on the scales.
They eventually escape but are faced with surviving an unforgiving jungle. After splitting up into 2 groups, Dengler and Duane (Steve Zahn) in one group, Gene and the remaining 4 POW’s in the other, nothing is mentioned of the fate of the latter group.
I would hazard a guess the film might not have worked without Bale and Davies giving it their best. The production value seemed quite low but that shouldn’t be a reflection on the quality of the acting.
Just going back to my previous statement about the ‘alleged’ true story, upon researching the film my attention was drawn to rescuedawnthetruth.com, a site set up by the friends and family of the real Dieter Dengler (now deceased). In the site they make no apologies for calling out Director Werner Herzog for making what they describe as “a flawed movie filled with numerous emissions”. It’s an interesting read and I recommend checking it out.
That said, I couldn’t stop watching Recue Dawn. Once the story took us into the POW camp I just had to see how he escaped. But now that I know, I don’t see any replay value.