Rescue Dawn (2006)

PG-13   |    |  Action, Adventure, Biography


Rescue Dawn (2006) Poster

A U.S. fighter pilot's epic struggle of survival after being shot down on a mission over Laos during the Vietnam War.


7.3/10
95,486

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  • Jeremy Davies in Rescue Dawn (2006)
  • Christian Bale and Werner Herzog in Rescue Dawn (2006)
  • Christian Bale at an event for Rescue Dawn (2006)
  • Christian Bale and Steve Zahn in Rescue Dawn (2006)
  • Elton Brand at an event for Rescue Dawn (2006)
  • Steve Zahn in Rescue Dawn (2006)

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Cast & Crew

Top Billed Cast



Director:

Werner Herzog

Writer:

Werner Herzog

Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


23 August 2007 | Jonny_Numb
7
| The "Dawn" of Naturalism
Writer-director Werner Herzog, whose films have always been marked by a rapport with the natural world, takes this trademark to Laos in "Rescue Dawn," a compelling, intimate account of the Vietnam conflict. Based on the real-life tale of Dieter Dengler (Christian Bale), a German-born/American-bred fighter pilot with a cocky, cowboy-like demeanor, the film goes for realism and largely succeeds. The setting is a microscopic POW camp where Dengler and a half-dozen prisoners, including Dwight (Steve Zahn, playing well against type) and Gene (Jeremy Davies--"Saving Private Ryan") plot an escape. Interestingly, the extensive Vietnamese spoken in the film is not subtitled, which actually adds to the strong sense of isolation incurred from the POWs' position. Herzog also paints "Rescue Dawn" as a timely meditation on the Iraq War--while Dieter's John Wayne persona (that takes a drastically different turn in the second half) could be read as an endorsement of American militarism, we see the emaciated, defeated prisoners almost as symbols of a war that's been "lost" from the beginning; even later in the film, the Vietnamese captors begin to show the same signs of fatigue and desperation. The whole concept of "escape" is essential to making an entertaining, suspenseful film (which "Rescue Dawn" certainly is), but also reflective of a current foreign-policy mess that should have been curtailed before it even began. But Herzog is subtle in his politics, and lets the jungle do most of the talking--once Dieter and his fellow prisoners escape, the road to a "happy ending" is anything but "cut and dry." The director often puts us in the midst of torture and terror, but also milks moments of surprising humor to great effect, and gets excellent performances from the entire cast (while Bale is top-billed, Zahn and Davies are the real standouts). My only real complaint about the film is a conclusion that comes off as contrived and unnecessary, stretching the credibility of the harrowing realism that came before. Otherwise, "Rescue Dawn" is one of 2007's standout features.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was shot in reverse continuity so Christian Bale, having worked hard to lose weight for the role, would appear the gauntest at the end, and then could simply gain the pounds back over the course of filming, working backwards through time so that when Bale returned to his average weight he would be filming his scenes as Dengler prior to being taken prisoner.


Quotes

Title Card: In 1965, few people believed that the still limited conflict in Viet Nam would turn into full scale war. / One of the first signs of what lay ahead was America's bombing of secret targets inside Laos.


Goofs

During his captivity, Dieter is shown wearing his gold wedding band - it is generally regard as something no American pilot would do. However, on the DVD Walter Herzog explains a deleted scene where Dieter's ring is almost stolen. When the guards are transporting Dengler to prison they stop at a village. A man there threatens to kill Dieter unless he gives him his ring-a gift from his fiancée. When they leave the village Dieter tells the guards his ring was stolen and they return to the village. The guards cut off the villager's ring finger and return Dieter's ring to him. This is a factual event that haunted Dengler the rest of his life.


Soundtracks

River in the Rain
Performed by
Ernst Reijseger (as Ernst Reijseger) (Trio)
Composed by Ernst Reijseger (as Ernst Reijseger) (BUMA)
Published by Winter & Winter (GEMA)
Ernst Reijseger appears courtesy of Winter & Winter, Munich, Germany

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Action | Adventure | Biography | Drama | War

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