Bale + Herzog + Vietnam POW = Rescue Dawn (Spoilers)

New movies! Old movies! B-movies! Discuss discuss discuss!!!

Postby Pacino86845 on Mon Jul 02, 2007 3:06 am

seppukudkurosawa wrote: I think on the commentary Herzog said it was kinda near to Bavaria where he grew up, but I could be wrong. It's been a while since I saw the movie, but there were a few bridges/ridges; it looked like an even more dreamy version of the Grand Canyon.

I think, though my knowledge of geography's pretty crap, that it's in Eastern Switzerland...



No help whatsoever, right? Ah well.

Anyway, I know you've got the first Herzog boxset, which was fairly cheapish; I think the second one's around the same price, so I'd recommend maybe picking it up. Fata Morgana, Even Dwarves Started Small and Heart of Glass aren't necessarily everyone's cup of tea, but you have two of his very best films in Strozseck and Kaspar Hauser in there too. Personally I love them all, but I learnt a long time ago that I've gotta be careful in recommending movies to people. Sorry grandma, wherever you are, I thought as far as snuff movies go, that one was very tasteful... :oops:

Erm...

I know my last few comments here should really have been posted in Pacino's Herzog thread (can you merge yet?), but I'd at least recommend Heart of Glass for Popol Vuh's haunting soundtrack. It's probably the best Florian Fricke ever did with Herzog.

I ordered it off Caiman USA a few weeks ago, but they're bloody slow bastards when it comes to sending things off. Bastards with impeccable taste, however. :x


Wow, thanks for the rundown... so I think I vaguely know where that part of Switzerland might be (in the East, maybe North East), but I haven't been there yet... at this point I guess I'll get the "other" Herzog box set. Not all of his stuff is great, but I never regret sitting through a Herzog film, and I haven't seen any of the films you talked about.

Sadly we still can't merge, but as long as we mention Rescue Dawn we might still appear to be on topic...



RESCUE DAWN!! Can't wait!!! FUCK YEAH!!! RESCUE DAWN!!!!
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Postby HollywoodBabylon on Mon Jul 02, 2007 7:16 am

seppukudkurosawa wrote:but I'd at least recommend Heart of Glass for Popol Vuh's haunting soundtrack. It's probably the best Florian Fricke ever did with Herzog.



Though their soundtrack to Aguirre is equally beguiling. Sad that Fricke died at a relatively youngish age.
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Postby Seppuku on Mon Jul 02, 2007 8:00 am

HollywoodBabylon wrote:
seppukudkuros awa wrote:but I'd at least recommend Heart of Glass for Popol Vuh's haunting soundtrack. It's probably the best Florian Fricke ever did with Herzog.



Though their soundtrack to Aguirre is equally beguiling. Sad that Fricke died at a relatively youngish age.


I don't know why, but I always mentally attribute the entire score to Aguirre to the [apparently ALF] pan piper, who they take along on the trip with them. You're right, however, that is one amazing score, which arguably singlehandedly invented New Age music right there. But don't hold that against them...
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Mon Jul 02, 2007 10:05 am

Terrific interview with Bale on Rescue Dawn and even a little tidbit on a 3rd Batman.

Bale is WELL the man. 'The whole point of being an actor is to be unkown.'

Take THAT so called actor movie stars!!! Yeah, I'm looking at YOU Tom Cruise!
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Postby so sorry on Mon Jul 02, 2007 10:57 am

Cpt Kirks 2pay wrote:Terrific interview with Bale on Rescue Dawn and even a little tidbit on a 3rd Batman.

Bale is WELL the man. 'The whole point of being an actor is to be unkown.'

Take THAT so called actor movie stars!!! Yeah, I'm looking at YOU Tom Cruise!


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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Mon Jul 02, 2007 1:50 pm

HAHAHHHAAAAA gentleman!!!!!!!!!!

I like the integrity of Bale that he doesn't tell people about him getting into shape for this role as he doesn't wanna keep talking about it. However I checked up on this and discovered that Hollywood are just in love with Bale as apparently he lost 400 pounds to play this guy, but from British standards I think that that is a criminal amount of money to lose for this job.
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Postby Seppuku on Mon Jul 02, 2007 1:52 pm

Cpt Kirks 2pay wrote:HAHAHHHAAAAA gentleman!!!!!!!!!!

I like the integrity of Bale that he doesn't tell people about him getting into shape for this role as he doesn't wanna keep talking about it. However I checked up on this and discovered that Hollywood are just in love with Bale as apparently he lost 400 pounds to play this guy, but from British standards I think that that is a criminal amount of money to lose for this job.


Did you just delete your post and then resubmit it, just so more people would see it?







Why didn't I think of that?
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Mon Jul 02, 2007 1:56 pm

I'm not revealing my Mod powers to you, man. Oh and you can't just delete posts and then retype them in a desperate attempt to rebump them, especially to just tell a lame joke. On other forums you can actually get banned for that. The Mods told me. Still don't see them refraining from simply writing 'BUMP' in a post in a dodgy attempt to rebump it, do you?
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Postby bamf on Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:06 pm

*note* slight spoilers, but more talk of the story on a whole rather then specific scenes.

Bamf says find Rescue Dawn

A fighter pilot's plane is brought down over Laos during a secret bombing mission in 1966. Dieter Dengler (Christian Bale) is lost in enemy territory. With his radio and pistol abandoned, his attempt to evade capture by Pathet Lao troops is met with failure, and he is taken to a prison camp deep in the Laos jungle to face torture and starvation.

A dramatic retelling of the story springs off of director Werner Herzog's documentary, Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1997). Written and directed by Herzog, this is not a Bat-21 or Behind Enemy Lines type tale, nor is it a commentary of Americas involvement in Vietnam mashed with Jimi Hendrix's "All along the Watchtower"
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Postby Brocktune on Fri Jul 06, 2007 1:39 am

i JUST saw an ad for this in the inside flap of my latest netflix flick. i love me some herzog! im definitely seeing this one. for that reason, i have skipped past your review. but i wanted to show a little love, you know? ill be back to read it though. your effort will not have been in vain, fair concord.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Fri Jul 06, 2007 3:20 am

I read the review, and in addition to being a really nice review, bamf really doesn't spoil things (unless you have no idea about the Little Dieter story)...
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Postby Brocktune on Fri Jul 06, 2007 3:08 pm

little who?

wasn't he on sprockets?
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Postby Bob Samonkey on Fri Jul 06, 2007 3:26 pm

Brocktune wrote:little who?

wasn't he on sprockets?


Berühre meinen Affen!!!!!!11!!
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Postby so sorry on Fri Jul 06, 2007 3:54 pm

I know a little german...
























wait for it....




























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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Fri Jul 06, 2007 4:47 pm

That's an 'Austrian'.
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Postby Fried Gold on Fri Jul 06, 2007 6:53 pm

Werner Herzog's films don't seem get very good distribution here sadly. I wanted to see 'The Wild Blue Yonder' a few weeks back and no where seemed to screen it.

Hopefully this will actually appear somewhere.
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Postby Brocktune on Fri Jul 06, 2007 6:54 pm

Cpt Kirks 2pay wrote:That's an 'Austrian'.


hahahahahaha!!!!
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Wed Jul 25, 2007 8:46 am

Was it you, Pacino, that asked if Rescue Dawn was ever gonna get a proper release in the US?

Wel, good news. According to a reviewer on the main site, it's getting a wide release this weekend finally.

I want loads of reviews guys. This is one of my most anticipated films of the year.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Wed Jul 25, 2007 8:50 am

Yeah it was me, thanks for the update Kirks! Now, hopefully it'll get a European release some time within the next five years...
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Postby Maui on Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:47 pm

***********SPOILERS***************



"Werner is intensely invested in finding a way, any way, to get to the keyhole perspective — the sense, as an audience, that you're looking through a keyhole at what's going on," - Jeremy Davies.

Rescue Dawn
Directed by Werner Herzog
Starring: Christian Bale, Jeremy Davies, Steve Zahn


A stunning piece of work by Werner Herzog with brilliant acting by Christian Bale, Steve Zahn and Jeremy Davies.

This film is most definitely of the same caliber as Platoon and Apocalypse Now. It is a touching story of courage, humanity, hope and death. The complete package: true heroism, beautiful Thai landscapes and an emotionally charged soundtrack by the London Metropolitan orchestra. I was breathless for 2 hours – the story was so gripping. The angst of the POWs and the frenzied escape scenes through the jungle were captivating.

The main characters are Dengler (Christian Bale), Duane (Steve Zahn) and Gene (Jeremy Davies). These 3 actors became POWs both physically and mentally. These actors all underwent weight loss to properly depict their role as POWs. Davies lost over 30 lbs for his role and you can tell. He appears emaciated on screen, as does Zahn and Bale with their sunken in faces and prominent cheekbones.


Rescue Dawn is the story of Dieter Dengler and his capture and escape from a Viet Kong POW camp. Dengler was a United States Navy pilot whose plane was shot down over Laos by enemy fire during the Viet Nam war. At the beginning of the film, we see Dengler’s plane crash and we watch him frantically evade Viet Kong through the jungle’s deadly terrain for atleast 20 minutes - 20 minutes of hiding, climbing, running, a frenzied cat/mouse game.

This 20 minutes went by all too fast, it seemed like 5 minutes. This is what movies should be – on the edge of your seat nervousness for the character. I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin. I was on the edge of my seat, knowing that any moment his capture was imminent. The Viet Kong proceed to chase and track him down through the jungle, eventually capturing him but before they take him to the POW camp, they drag him through several villages, torturing him with ant nests, beatings, hanging him upside down for days on end, submerging him in a well, all while the local villagers look on as if its just another day.

I can’t say enough about Steve Zahn’s role as Duane. A POW who still has some sanity with little hope of rescue. He really delivered an incredible performance. Jeremy Davies was perfect. His POW experiences made him crazy, he still had hope that the soldiers would release him. His portrayal of a soldier gone mad and full of delusions was precise and certainly believable.

Bale's performance is simply breathtaking, moving, touching, desperate, hopeful, heroic - he is bloody brilliant.




I can’t remember the last time a movie has touched me this deeply. I fought back the tears.

This is what cinema is all about folks! Don’t miss this one, it’s a cinematic masterpiece.
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:56 pm

Well at least someone's seen it at last!

Nice little review. Glad you liked it. It sounds about as good as all the things I expect it to be. Never was expecting the film to be this good. I'll have to wait and see for myself when it comes to the UK - in blinkin' WINTER!!!!!!!!

Anyone else seen it!? Gonna see it?!
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Postby stereosforgeeks on Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:59 pm

I saw it the other week and I agree with Maui's statements, but there are better in Herzog's filmography.

Though good Herzog is still better than basically anything else.
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Postby LeFlambeur on Sun Aug 12, 2007 1:10 am

I caught Rescue Dawn the other weekend and liked it. What follows here are a few half-baked ramblings from a Herzog novice. Besides Rescue Dawn all I've seen are Aguirre: the Wrath of God, and Grizzly Man.

Based on what I've seen Herzog's own metaphysical disposition is difficult to get a handle on. He seems to be trying out various philosophical positions through his subjects. After about an hour and a half of footage taken from Timothy Treadwell's camera in Grizzly Man Herzog finally disagrees with Treadwell's world view saying "to me there is no secret world of the bear, I see only the blank stare of an animal interested in food." This discord between the perceived and the "actual" seems to run throughout the work of his that I've seen thus far. "You're a strange bird Dieter, a man tries to kill you and you want his job," Zahn's charachter says when Dieter describes an encounter with an ally aircraft he had as a child. Dieter's response to the plane was aesthetic, he did not view it pragmatically, his description sounds like that of a fiery avenging angel, a transcendent god of death. This connects to the opening stock footage, in which the bombing is also viewed aesthetically and musically underscored to seem like fireworks.

The three films examine how extreme conditions bring people to a state that could be described as insanity. These states of consciousness bring out the subjects innermost views of reality. Aguirre seemed to suggest that man's various ideals are ill-equipped to understand a cruel and indifferent universe. The camera (being an indifferent mechanical device) is a well equipped tool for this sort of examination. If this is what attracted Herzog to the cinema, it would explain his taste for long takes and generally realist demeanor. The jungle in Rescue Dawn is not the expressionist nightmare of previous 'nam films. Herzog, like his protagonist, has seen worse, and the film is fairly well balanced. The early torture sequences are the most difficult to watch, but even Dengler's captors are eventually humanized. Herzog does not shy away from the rough edges of their near animal existence, nor does he make a concerted effort to portray their situation as especially horrifying. The guards are portrayed not as malicious, but rather as existing in conditions not radically dissimilar from the pows. When they plan to kill the prisoners it is not a vicious decision so much as a pragmatic one. What makes Rescue Dawn different from what I've seen from Herzog is how it ends on a note of uplift.

Unlike other Herzogian subjects, Dieter doesn't succumb to his delusions, he remains semi-aware of his imaginings. When he sees helicopters coming he says "oh God please be real," acknowledging a reality outside of his perception. Interestingly enough, it could be said that it was Dieters most "American" qualities that keep him alive his ingenuity, optimism, willingness to take charge, bravery, etc. At one point he even smiles and says "Howdy" to the guards. Like that other German filmmaker Wim Wenders, Herzog has also become fascinated by the American character, though he doesn't explore it as extensively. I can see why the director identifies so strongly with Dieter, both have found success in America. What makes Dieter unique from the other two (Aguirre, Treadwell) is that he has survived, and so he is viewed more with admiration than derision.

There is something unsettling about the ending. Dieter escapes the harsh jungle existence to the military base. When the helicopter picks him up it mirrors the training footage seen earlier. The audience feels Dengler's sense of relief and bewilderment. Butterfingers, cake, the kind of things the prisoner's dreamed about are realized before him. In the end, hoisted up by the crowd he looks almost childlike. He has come full circle, now celebrated by the indifferent American military machine that has repeatedly tried to destroy him. They celebrate his victory but do not comprehend what it took to attain it. When they ask him in front of a crowd about what he believed in he says "I believe I need a steak." When asked to give advice he says to "fill that which is empty, empty that which is full. Scratch where it itches." I think checking out the doc on this guy might shed some more insight into Herzog's ideas about him. Rescue Dawn may not be a masterpiece, but it is a solid film worth exploring.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Sun Aug 12, 2007 4:03 am

Damn, Flambeur, really nice (and positive!! :shock: :wink:) review.
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Postby Maui on Sun Aug 12, 2007 11:06 am

LeFlambeur wrote:I caught Rescue Dawn the other weekend and liked it.


Glad you liked it, I did as well. :shock: :)


LeFlambeur wrote:The guards are portrayed not as malicious, but rather as existing in conditions not radically dissimilar from the pows. When they plan to kill the prisoners it is not a vicious decision so much as a pragmatic one.


I noticed this as well. The camp/guards did not seem very threatening at times. I would have envisioned worse circumstances at the camp. I felt the more brutal/difficult moments to watch were the village scenes and how Dengler was tortured at each village stop.

LeFlambeur wrote:Dieter doesn't succumb to his delusions, he remains semi-aware of his imaginings.

True, after Zahn dies, he does have delusionary moments that Zahn is still with him but he seems to be able to shake off the image.



LeFlambeur wrote:When they ask him in front of a crowd about what he believed in he says "I believe I need a steak." When asked to give advice he says to "fill that which is empty, empty that which is full. Scratch where it itches." I think checking out the doc on this guy might shed some more insight into Herzog's ideas about him. Rescue Dawn may not be a masterpiece, but it is a solid film worth exploring.



Definitely worth exploring. I encourage everyone to see this. My thoughts on this film were a little more upbeat but you do have some valid points.



:)
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Postby thebabypanda on Tue Aug 21, 2007 9:06 pm

http://video.nbc6.net/player/?id=128404[/url]

Some gal in South Florida interviews Christian Bale about Rescue Dawn.

Whoa.
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Postby Maui on Tue Aug 21, 2007 9:10 pm

thebabypanda wrote:http://video.nbc6.net/player/?id=128404[/url]

Some gal in South Florida interviews Christian Bale about Rescue Dawn.

Whoa.


Awe, Christian is cool. He has an accent too, didn't know that. ;)
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Postby John-Locke on Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:15 pm

Literally just finished watching this.

Obviously we all know by now that the film is very good if not great so all I can say is...

Steve Zahn's performance is legendary, such a scarring and haunting performance, truly moving and all accomplished through facial expressions with piercing blue eyes, Herzog knew exactly what he was doing when he cast Zahn and the end result is heartbreaking.
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Postby Maui on Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:22 pm

John-Locke wrote:Literally just finished watching this.

Obviously we all know by now that the film is very good if not great so all I can say is...

Steve Zahn's performance is legendary, such a scarring and haunting performance, truly moving and all accomplished through facial expressions with piercing blue eyes, Herzog knew exactly what he was doing when he cast Zahn and the end result is heartbreaking.


JL, didn't you think it was rather fast - the demise of Zahn's character. Chop off the head - boom, next scene.
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Postby John-Locke on Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:31 pm

Maui wrote:
John-Locke wrote:Literally just finished watching this.

Obviously we all know by now that the film is very good if not great so all I can say is...

Steve Zahn's performance is legendary, such a scarring and haunting performance, truly moving and all accomplished through facial expressions with piercing blue eyes, Herzog knew exactly what he was doing when he cast Zahn and the end result is heartbreaking.


JL, didn't you think it was rather fast - the demise of Zahn's character. Chop off the head - boom, next scene.


Yes it was fast. Fast, Harsh and real, Dieter doesn't have a moment to contemplate his friends demise, he even grabs the shoe to help aid his own survival. We the audience are left disbelieving what we have just seen and it's exactly that which haunts me right now. That and the last time we see living Zahn's eyes in the film he's just been chopped in the leg by a machete and he has such a disbelieving and broken look that right now I feel like that image has been permanently burned into my memory.

Effective film making at it's best.
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Postby Maui on Mon Nov 12, 2007 9:22 pm

John-Locke wrote:
Maui wrote:
Joh n-Locke wrote:Literally just finished watching this.

Obviously we all know by now that the film is very good if not great so all I can say is...

Steve Zahn's performance is legendary, such a scarring and haunting performance, truly moving and all accomplished through facial expressions with piercing blue eyes, Herzog knew exactly what he was doing when he cast Zahn and the end result is heartbreaking.


JL, didn't you think it was rather fast - the demise of Zahn's character. Chop off the head - boom, next scene.


Yes it was fast. Fast, Harsh and real, Dieter doesn't have a moment to contemplate his friends demise, he even grabs the shoe to help aid his own survival. We the audience are left disbelieving what we have just seen and it's exactly that which haunts me right now. That and the last time we see living Zahn's eyes in the film he's just been chopped in the leg by a machete and he has such a disbelieving and broken look that right now I feel like that image has been permanently burned into my memory.

Effective film making at it's best.



Yeah - I just sat there blankly, it was an incredibly harsh scene. Haunting is certainly a fitting word. It seems almost immediately after Zahn's death scene - we are then taken to Bale's delusional scene (where he thinks he's talking to Zahn) - if I'm correct - it's been a few months since I've seen the flick.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Sat Dec 01, 2007 8:52 pm

Well I thought that Rescue Dawn was pretty average, which is pretty disappointing considering the positive buzz around it...

Some parts of it are really nice, the classic Herzog touches are there: terrific nature shots that are never dull, don't know how he manages it so easily (actually I have an idea, the guy is a nature freak of course), the man vs nature themes.

The opening shots, mixed with the music, were quite harrowing, and the film's strength lies in the POW camp portions.

**SPOILERS to follow, albeit mild**

I thought all the acting was pretty decent, if not a little hokey sometimes, but Zahn does NOT really stand out in my opinion. He was good, and maybe compared to his other performances this might appear to be excellent, but the sad, beaten dog role has been done before, and it will be done again, nothing surprising there.

The most interesting character was Dieter himself, but at the end **real SPOILERS** he was too over the top and it started to get annoying. Also, I get that his surviving is an awe-inspiring feat, but the end of the film is ridiculously cheesy whereas the POW parts especially had been done in a fairly intelligent way. Also, the way Zahn got whacked was a huge cop-out, I barely noticed that he was killed and actually I expected Dieter to go back to check on him, but when he didn't I was like "oh, so Steve Zahn's character's dead I guess." And what the hell was up with that wrestling announcer back on the ship?

**END SPOILERS**

This is the most polished Herzog film I've ever seen, but he's just not taking risks anymore, a lot of the film is just too safe to really become anything that special.

If you watch this it definitely wouldn't be a waste of time, but it's not really above average (which isn't bad, in any case). To get back on the positive side, the film is well done, some nice production values except for effects shots at the beginning where the seams were showing. The story pace is taut, and despite many quiet moments and lots of greenery, the film doesn't lag and builds suspense fairly nicely due to the gripping subject matter.

6/10
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Postby bamf on Sun Dec 02, 2007 3:21 am

But Pacino, dont you think the ending fits given the dire circumstances of the film? I would agree with you if they were having tea and reading the Times everyday, with a game of polo to break the monotony--but come on! They had to figure out how to hide food where they shat!!

I liked the breakout, and the crescendo at the end. It was emotionally satisfying for a hellish journey.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Sun Dec 02, 2007 6:11 am

**SPOILERS**



I think having a happy ending is fine, and when the helicopters arrived was probably the high point of relief... to me, everything that came afterward wasn't elegant at all, I thought it was too heavy-handed.
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Postby Maui on Sun Dec 02, 2007 2:28 pm

I agree with the end being a bit cheesy Pacino.

The comment to the soldier crowd about wanting a steak. I just kinda rolled my eyes there a wee bit.

I did give it higher marks than you - but it's definitely worthwhile viewing for everyone.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Sun Dec 02, 2007 3:16 pm

Oh yeah, I won't argue that... still, the best part of the film, which few directors out there could pull off IMO, is how "genuinely" the POW camp was depicted. The survival stuff was interesting as well, but not as novel as the POW camp portion. Basically the film asks the question: "What if MacGyver was taken prisoner in Laos?"
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Postby Maui on Sun Dec 02, 2007 3:28 pm

There were criticisms that the POW camps were not depicted horrific enough in the film.

I guess I'm somewhere in the middle of that assumption. There were times where it didn't seem that bad in the camp and the POWs even had a rapport with some of the soliders. Then that asks you the question - perhaps there were some 'okay' moments in these horrendous circumstances.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Sun Dec 02, 2007 3:37 pm

Maui wrote:There were criticisms that the POW camps were not depicted horrific enough in the film.


Really? Where? 'cause I'm willing to give this film a massive score bump for NOT overdoing the POW camp in some phoney way.

I guess I'm somewhere in the middle of that assumption. There were times where it didn't seem that bad in the camp and the POWs even had a rapport with some of the soliders. Then that asks you the question - perhaps there were some 'okay' moments in these horrendous circumstances.


I think it's never black and white... of course it sucks to be taken prisoner, but that doesn't mean that there's never any humanity in certain situations, especially in the camp depicted in Rescue Dawn where it was essentially a few villagers that were made responsible, rather than "professional" soldiers. I think the further you get away from trained/brain-washed soldiers the higher the chances of being treated like a human.
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Postby Maui on Sun Dec 02, 2007 3:49 pm

Pacino86845 wrote:
Maui wrote:There were criticisms that the POW camps were not depicted horrific enough in the film.


Really? Where? 'cause I'm willing to give this film a massive score bump for NOT overdoing the POW camp in some phoney way.

I guess I'm somewhere in the middle of that assumption. There were times where it didn't seem that bad in the camp and the POWs even had a rapport with some of the soliders. Then that asks you the question - perhaps there were some 'okay' moments in these horrendous circumstances.


I think it's never black and white... of course it sucks to be taken prisoner, but that doesn't mean that there's never any humanity in certain situations, especially in the camp depicted in Rescue Dawn where it was essentially a few villagers that were made responsible, rather than "professional" soldiers. I think the further you get away from trained/brain-washed soldiers the higher the chances of being treated like a human.


Good point!

I can't recall where I read those POW camp criticisms. It was a few months back when I saw the film - and since noone in the Zone had seen the movie - I dug around for movie reviews/opinions elsewhere - I know, tsk tsk!
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Sat Dec 22, 2007 5:59 am

i would not want to be in a movie with Jeremy Davies if he's playing unbalanced.

not flamboyant or outward so much as engrossingly internal; the madness may seep out at any moment, it's just percolating under the surface.
Personally, I'm an atheist in the voting booth and a theist in the movie theatre. I separate the morality of religion with the spirituality and solace of it. There is something boring about atheism.
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Postby Ribbons on Thu Dec 27, 2007 3:32 am

I thought Rescue Dawn was okay; better than most of the stuff cranked out this year, but still not as good as I'd thought/hoped it would be. Still, I'd recommend it on the strength of its Herzogian jungle shots alone.

This really did seem like more of a struggle for the main character's sanity/spirit than a straightforward war flick. Both the U.S. army and Dieter's captors are shown doing good and bad things, and the story doesn't spend much time focusing on either. It's the group of captives who are shackled together with Dieter that the movie's all about. I liked a lot of the character work here -- all of the small pieces of home that they cling to and the micro-society that they congeal into -- and near the end of their time together at the POW camp, you really see how they're sort of whacked out. The scene that stands out for me is the one where the rest of the chain gang insists that Dieter apologize to a tearful Eugene (Jeremy Davies, looking about as skeletal as Bale did in The Machinist) because he wouldn't let Duane get up to shit in the middle of the night (which would have blown their escape plan).

No real complaints. There are themes explored here -- the human spirit under duress, man vs. nature -- that are fairly interesting. I guess I just didn't feel it like I thought I would, but your results may vary.
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Postby Fried Gold on Sat Dec 29, 2007 2:42 pm

I finally saw it today...a very, very good film. It's now in my top 5 of 2007 (not that it means much, as the top 5 changes from day to day....)

I am puzzled though - why were they celebrating at the end, when they never did rescue Dawn? She's still in the Laotian jungle somewhere.
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Postby tapehead on Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:04 pm

I think the film is about the strength and indomitable nature of Dieter Dengler, and of nature itself.
I love Bale's performance, while it might seem exaggerated to some, it reminded me of Germans I have met, and the spirit of comradeship he engenders even in his captors, the great affection and love he has for his friends and fellow prisoners, and his creative thinking in the face of incredible hardship are fascinating to watch.
Credit goes to Zahn for playing against type successfully and Davies, despite the fact he seems to be the 'go to' guy for quiet, creeping madness at this point. Such beautiful cinematography and great performances, it's perhaps the story structure itself and some of the dramatic decisions that prevent to film from the greatness it aspires to. Still it will send me searching for more of Herzog's films I haven't seen, starting with 'Little Dieter wants to Fly'.
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