Tuesday, September 11, 2007
WORTH IT: Before any comment on the film itself, I must say, what a phenomenal story. And, what a phenomenal survivor. For those that don't know, Rescue Dawn is the true story of pilot Deiter Dengler, whose plane crashes in the jungle of Laos during an air raid. He is captured by angry rebels and held prisoner indefinitely. The film depicts the story of a struggle to discover willpower, the struggle to remain sane in an impossible world, and the struggle to stay alive amidst trigger-happy and starving Cambodians. The film takes off on an odd tone, making Christian Bale's Dengler appear pompous, not taking his feat seriously and offended by the treatment of his captors. His attitude left strange and disconnected feelings from what could have been a heart-wrenching tale. Fortunately, as the plot treads, Werner Herzog brings the audience right into the heart and mind of his characters, revealing their fears and their abandoned hopes, as well as their protruding bones and rotting teeth. Alongside breathtaking scenery, he tags eating live snakes, pulling leeches off bare skin, and uncontrollable bowels, painting a picture of utter suffering. By the end, the awkward tone had evolved into a deep concern for the situation. His hopelessness and frustration are evident. Inspired by his determination and his strength of mind and body, I felt my heart feeling for the man. For me, it was a the story of a man, not a war, whose mind and spirit matures through a gut-splitting trauma, and who is taught to search for his deepest purpose and faith to carry the title and reputation of the United States of America through a dark and violent jungle.