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Review: Rescue Dawn

Posted Date: December 4, 2007

Prediction: Jeremy Davies is the next hot thing.

I just got done watching “Rescue Dawn”, by Werner Herzog, based on the real life story of Dieter Dengler, a U.S. pilot shot down and captured at the beginning of the Vietnam War.  The movie mainly centers on his time as a POW, planning to escape.  But you can read the plot synopsis anywhere.

I first became aware of Herzog as an actor, actually, in Harmony Korine’s “Julien Donkey-Boy”.  He played Julien’s cough-syrup addicted dad, alternately ignoring and terrorising his family.  I’ve always admired Korine, I consider him a filmmaker way ahead of his time, and Korine admires Herzog.

I vaughly remember watching “Aquirre”, and not being all that impressed.  But about the same time, Herzog started making English films and documentaries, and I started appreciating just how talented he is.  The few of you that haven’t seen “Grizzly Man”, go see it!

“Rescue Dawn” is being passed off as a “mainstream” or “studio” film, but it is really more rooted in documentary filmmaking and “cinema verite”.  Herzog’s feature films resemble documentaries, and his documentaries resemble feature films.  It’s nice to see that this esthetic has carried over to a movie containing big Hollywood actors.

Everyone survived, and nobody had to tow a boat over a mountain, at least.  But these guys are shooting in the jungle, and it’s not pretty.  My hat is off to every single actor who worked on this film, taking a chance with a notoriosly demanding director liker Herzog.

Christian Bale is the lead, and he certainly carries this film well.  Anybody remember “Swing Kids”?  lol…still, anybody who saw “Equilibrium” would realize that Bale is pure gold, as he has proved in “The Machinist” and “Batman Begins”, and now “Rescue Dawn”.

Steve Zahn is amazing in this movie, and I hope it gets him out of his “goofy guy” typecast, like in “Out Of Sight” or “Employee of the Month”.  I mean, we know this guy can act…his performance in “subUrbia” should have proven that, but “Rescue Dawn” certainly does.

For me, the real find is Jeremy Davies in a singularly creepy role as Eugene McBroom.  He acts as Bale’s nemesis, trying to make him stay instead of escape.  Usually I just hate Davies’ characters, like in “Secretary” or “Spanking the Monkey”.  Although his role is based more on story requirements than reality, Davies brings a sinister character to life, making us understand and pity him instead of hate him.

The rumour is that Davies is filming with a popular TV show, so that’s pretty cool.  OK, it’s “Lost”, and some spanish guy has pictures so it’s probably true, and I can’t wait for Lost…only a couple more months!  w00t!

cl

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One Response

  1. rescue dawn rocked, bale never fails to deliver

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