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rescue dawn
Rescue Dawn
Directed by:
Werner Herzog
Cast: Zach Grenier, Christian Bale, Marshall Bell, Pat Healy, James Oliver
Written by:
Matt Booth

October 9, 2007

One of our most popular and talented actors today, Christian Bale, stars as Dieter Dengler, a U.S. fighter pilot, whose will to survive is put to the ultimate test when he is shot down over Laos in 1966 and put in a jungle prison camp. This true story was brought to the big screen by Werner Herzog and based on his documentary "Little Dieter Needs to Fly"


A POW Vietnam War drama seems like old news and done several times before, but since it is a Hollywood production, you would figure a lot would be thrown in for the theatrical value aspect, but it is not. The story of Dieter's escape from the prison camp is told over a period of time and the actors chosen to play the prisoners and Laotian guards really do a great job to make this movie authentic. The prison camp set is top notch, almost as good as the set from "THE GREAT ESCAPE" but you are in the jungle, not the German countryside.

Bale interacts well with his cast mates like Steve Zahn, who plays fellow prisoner Duane and Jeremy Davies who plays Godlike Gene. Both of these characters do not have the fortitude that Dieter does to survive, but rather seem to be beaten down by the gruesome conditions in the camp and the psychological torture dished out by the Laotian Guards.

Dieter however starts planning to escape from day one. He devises a brilliant plan for himself and the others to escape, as he finds weaknesses in the way the Prison's guards operate and capitalizes on them. Once free from the camp, his bravery is put to an even bigger test, trying to keep himself and the surviving prisoners alive, as the jungle poses many obstacles along with the attempts to recapture by the Vietnamese. 

The anti war sentiment from back in the good old USA is gingerly dealt with and there is a happy ending here whose story is brought back to the States by the military press, as well. I think the film makers deserve an "A" for keeping this story truthful. It is very entertaining to sit back and watch the struggles of these brave men and to route for their triumphs and be sad when they fail. I'll bet a few people had to get out the Kleenex, near the end.

I give this movie star starstarand think you will like it even if you are not into WAR movies or happy endings.  Dieter has such a big HEART!

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