August 15th, 2007

amd: blue statue

wayback wednesday: Rescue Dawn (possible spoilers if you don't already know what the film is about)

Saw Rescue Dawn yesterday. It's based on the true story of German-born American navy pilot Dieter Dengler who was shot down over Laos during the early days of the Vietnam War. The story follows his attempt to escape the POW camp he's placed in (along with the other prisoners) and survive in the jungles of Laos long enough to either make it to Thailand or be spotted by American planes. Director Werner Herzog made an earlier film about Dengler, the documentry Little Dieter Needs to Fly, but this fictional account actually works suprisingly well as an action film, a genre Herzog isn't exactly known for. I found it harrowing, entertaining, and very emotionally-affecting.

Christian Bale did great as always, although seemed a little confused at times as to what accent he was meant to be using and Steve Zahn did a fine job of dropping the zaniness from his usual sidekick role. The family of one of Dengler's fellow prisoners (played by an emaciated-looking Jeremy Davies still doing a bit of his dead-on Charlie Manson impression from the television movie) have contested his representation in the film, even citing evidence from Dengler himself to prove some events in the movie wrong. It's interesting, because I can see why Herzog would twist events to ramp up the drama, but I could also imagine Dengler giving Herzog a truer version of the events and the families of his fellow prisoners a softer one. I suspect Herzog will remain enigmatic on that particular subject.