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Rescue Dawn

A film like Rescue Dawn is an unfortunate casualty of the Hollywood marketing process. Sadly, it fell through the cracks this year – not big enough to become a bona fide hit, and not released late enough for full award consideration. However, just because it has been largely forgotten by critics and audiences this year doesn’t mean it should be forgotten.

Rescue Dawn tells the true story of Dieter Dengler (Christian Bale), a pilot during Vietnam who was shot down behind enemy lines. He spent a significant amount of time in a prison camp and eventually makes an escape to freedom.

Directed by Werner Herzog, who brings plenty of credibility to the project, the biggest flaw in this film is its adherence to the original story. Unlike a traditional Hollywood movie, Rescue Dawn follows the pacing and irony of real life. It is far from predictable and far from formulaic. Rather, Herzog presents the film almost as a filmed documentary, which adds to the realism.

Still, this is commendable, especially in the overdone Hollywood playing field. Rescue Dawn is quite possibly one of the most honest movies you’ll see this year, and judging from the passion I saw from the director and actors in the special features, they don’t give a damn whether this movie makes bank or wins awards. Dieter’s story is told in a rare, honest fashion.

The DVD comes with several featurettes that chronicle the making of the film. Through the interviews, we see the commitment of the stars and its director, which gave me a newfound respect for the movie.

Grade: B

Release Date: November 20, 2007
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 125 minutes
Number of Discs: 2
Cast: Christian Bale, Steve Zahn, Jeremy Davies
Director: Werner Herzog
Studio: MGM Home Entertainment

Kevin Carr crawled from the primordial ooze in the early 1970s. He grew up watching movies to the point of irritation for his friends and was a font of useless movie knowledge until he decided to put that knowledge to good use. Now, Kevin is a nationally syndicated critic, heard on dozens of radio stations around the country, and his reviews appear in a variety of online outlets. Kevin is also a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA).

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