Monday, February 18, 2008

Rescue Dawn

I had posted earlier regarding Werner Herzog's documentary Little Dieter Needs To Fly surrounding the extraordinary survival tale of Dieter Dengler during his WWII childhood and later Vietnam. The film details the life of an exemplary man.

Rescue Dawn is also directed by Herzog. As he mentions in a featurette on the DVD this was the "unfinished business" between he and Dengler that they wanted to see grace film. It is the visualized dramatization of that aforementioned documentary.

It remains faithful to the documentary and the spirit of the man that is Dieter in almost every way. Christian Bale gives yet another standout performance as Dengler. His castmates also deliver. Steve Zahn is flawless as Duane Martin, Bale's best friend and a fellow POW. Not to be overlooked is Jeremy Davies [Lost, Saving Private Ryan] as Gene. Davies is immersed and emaciated in this moving role [Herzog admits in the extras he wished he had portrayed Gene a little better in light of new information that came to him after the film was made]. It is quite easily one of the finest, real war films told in recent memory. Herzog relies on the reality of the Thailand jungle. There is no CGI trickery here.

For fans of Lost, there is yet another connection to our favorite TV drama with the appearance of Francois Chau [of the Dharma initiative] who attempts to coax Dengler into turning on his adopted homeland by signing papers against his country.

Loyalty. True honor. Those are qualities all too rare to find these days. Clearly Dieter Dengler udnerstoof those qualities in spades.

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