Rescue Dawn (2006)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5.  

USA, 2006.  , , , , , .  Screenplay by Werner Herzog.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by

American army pilot Christian Bale is sent on a top-secret mission into 1965 Laos during the early stages of the Vietnam war, only to be shot down by enemy gunfire. He finds himself locked up in a prisoner-of-war camp with five other prisoners, all of whom have become a little mentally unhinged in the months that they’ve spent starving under lock and key. is a standout as the one prisoner whom Bale takes under his wing and who becomes his key partner in his attempt to break out and face the wild jungles of southeast Asia. Werner Herzog’s marvelous war film avoids all mawkish patriotic sentiment and sticks to the development of its characters and its bizarre atmosphere; like most of his films it features an outsider surviving under the most extraordinary circumstances. Also highly impressive is the rich photography reminiscent of the verdant hues of 1960s National Geographic film stock, only with the realistic horrors of war in its frames instead of any kind of stylized, benign beauty. Bale gives a strong performance (though his accent is poorly hidden) and is positively creepy as the fellow prisoner who doesn’t believe that escape is the wisest option.

Toronto International Film Festival:  2006

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