Need to get out of the heat this weekend? Go see Werner Herzog’s new film called Rescue Dawn. I saw Herzog’s film last night, Rescue Dawn, playing at the Uptown Theatre in Minneapolis (to moves to Lagoon Theatre next week). Amazing……as is all of Herzog’s films. The kind of film that has you pleasantly thinking about days after you see it. The opening scene is stunning. A very different kind of Vietnam film, one that only a Herzog voice could do….beautifully filmed and impeccable as is his style. He brings the story of the war to you intimately through his tangable characters. The soundtrack, the diaglogue, the acting, the directing and cinematography…..all TWO THUMBS UP. Christian Bale (Batman and The Machinist) stars, co-starring Zahn—and nobody would be more perfect for the part. Yes, yes, yes.
From the Salt Lake Tribune—I think this is a goood summary:
The story of Dieter Dengler, a U.S. Navy fighter pilot who escaped from a Vietnam War-era prison camp in Laos, has long fascinated filmmaker Werner Herzog. Lucky for us. Herzog first chronicled the German-born Dengler’s wartime ordeal in a 1997 documentary, “Little Dieter Needs to Fly.” Now he tackles it again with “Rescue Dawn,” a powerful dramatization that brings the story of Dengler’s capture, imprisonment and escape to a wider audience. Under Herzog’s assured direction, “Rescue Dawn” is a taut, gripping wartime adventure, propelled by strong performances by Christian Bale and a surprising Steve Zahn. Zahn, the comic sidekick in such breezy films as “Happy, Texas” and “That Thing You Do!”, is nothing short of a revelation. Herzog avoids wartime context or politics to keep this visceral film focused on Dengler, who represents can-do American optimism under tremendous strain.
And from The Washington Post:
Herzog even manages to find unexpected beauty in a story that seems to transpire before Vietnam became a trope for cynicism and defeat. An early shot of planes flying in “Rescue Dawn” recalls the German painter Gerhard Richter in its state of suspended, poetic grace. Like Richter, Herzog seems congenitally mistrustful of orthodoxies, whether from the right or left; he’s created a story that exists outside politics and history in a purer, more primal realm. At one point someone asks Dengler whether it was a belief in God and country that got him through his ordeal, and he responds, “I believe I need a steak.”
Such is the tenacious, unsentimental spirit that animates “Rescue Dawn,” making it an instant classic of its genre. That such a masterful depiction of courage, sacrifice and can-do spirit has been created by a German art film director known for considerably darker visions is an irony Herzog no doubt finds delicious.