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Rescue Dawn

Biography . War . Drama . Adventure

A US Fighter pilot's epic struggle of survival after being shot down on a mission over Laos during the Vietnam War.

Actors: Marshall Bell , Steve Zahn , Christian Bale , Zach Grenier , Brad Carr , Saichia Wongwiroj , GQ , James Oliver , François Chau , Pat Healy , Toby Huss
Directors: Werner Herzog
Release: 2007-07-27
More Info:
  • Kyle Smith

    What a sweet collision is Rescue Dawn: the American psycho meets the German kook.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Walter Addiego

    An old-fashioned prisoner-of-war movie that becomes much more because of writer-director Werner Herzog's admiration for the remarkable true story of its protagonist, Dieter Dengler.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Out of a harrowing story set in a foreign thicket, Herzog has found American beauty.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Kirk Honeycutt

    Christian Bale plays Dieter Dengler and this is one of the actor's most complex and compelling performances.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Carina Chocano

    Aside from a riveting adventure story that Herzog tells in all of its terrifying, stripped-down simplicity, Rescue Dawn is a fascinating study of human particularity.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    That such a masterful depiction of American heroism and can-do spirit has been created by a German art film director known for considerably darker visions of obsession is an irony Herzog no doubt finds delicious.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Marjorie Baumgarten

    Herzog outdoes himself with Rescue Dawn, making his most popularly accessible film yet and proving at the same time that he is among the most daring of all filmmakers and capable -- like his characters -- of almost anything.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Glenn Kenny

    This is filmmaking that's as rousing as it is strange.

    Premiere Full Review
  • Ken Fox

    To better capture the extremity of Dengler's ordeal, Bale once again underwent the kind of dramatic weight loss that shocked audiences of "The Machinist," but he's downright plump next to the emaciated Davies, who looks like Charles Manson in the end stages of a hunger strike.

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    The movie is, indeed, perhaps the most believable that Herzog has made. For a director who gravitates toward the extremes of human behavior, this film involves extreme behavior, yes, but behavior forced by the circumstances.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    The question remains: Why would Herzog want to dramatize what he has already captured as nonfiction? To better control the material, I think, and to bring it in line with his own obsessions.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Bale is extraordinary, grinning like a kid, displaying wily intelligence, sinewy resolve and spirit - and a bit of craziness, too.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Staff (Not credited)

    Their bond lends this more or less conventional POW escape film resounding emotional depth.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Chris Kaltenbach

    The scenes between Dengler and Duane, between a force of nature and a force of reason, are the real heart of the film.

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
  • David Ansen

    As taut and exciting as many edge-of-your-seat Hollywood escape movies.

    Newsweek Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    You can't watch this exciting movie without rooting for little Dieter, but decoding the lessons of his ambiguous story will take a lot longer. Full Review
  • Richard Corliss

    Rescue Dawn is a tale of heroism untainted by political skepticism. In an age when U.S. soldiers are seen as villains or victims, the movie offers a GI who bravely, or madly, simply refuses to die.

    Time Full Review
  • J.R. Jones

    But like much of Herzog's work, it's essentially apolitical, focusing on a man at war with his environment -- and no one plunges into the foliage like he does.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Leslie Felperin

    As far as establishing a sense of period goes, Herzog cleaves to a refreshing less-is-more philosophy. This may be the first Vietnam-set film in history not to feature a bar of Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones or indeed any other rock music on its soundtrack.

    Variety Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    Christian Bale continues to amaze with his ability and range.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Although nothing beats seeing and hearing the real story, Herzog has done a fairly compelling job of blending staged action with docudrama authenticity.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    Christian Bale loves to suffer on-screen. Werner Herzog loves to make people suffer on-screen. Rescue Dawn is proof they were made for each other.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    There's never any question how Rescue Dawn will end, but as conventional and straightforward as the movie is, it's easy to understand why Herzog was driven to tell this story twice.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    The film, Rescue Dawn, is so good it makes you wish that Herzog had gone Hollywood earlier in his career. His pet theme is here: man tested against nature, his sanity more precarious than his body.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Anthony Lane

    There is honor, boldness, and grip in the new movie, but other directors can deliver those. Werner Herzog is the last great hallucinator in cinema, so why break the spell?

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • J. Hoberman

    Rescue Dawn is the closest thing to a "real" movie that Herzog has ever made. The lone conquistador has joined the club. Rescue Dawn is a Rambo movie without the Man (who, if I remember my Rambology, was himself of German descent).

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Scott Foundas

    The canniness of Bale’s performance (which may be the best of his young but brilliant career) is that he plays Dengler as a fundamentally kind and simple yet rather ingenious man.

    L.A. Weekly Full Review
  • Matt Zoller Seitz

    For the most part, Rescue Dawn is a marvel: a satisfying genre picture that challenges the viewer’s expectations.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Matthew Sorrento

    In Bale, Herzog has found a talent who transcends the challenges of a brutal shoot. "Rescue" reveals new capabilities for an actor who's already proven himself in other intense and ever-focused performances.

    Film Threat Full Review
  • Elizabeth Weitzman

    There is a great movie in Werner Herzog's Vietnam saga, Rescue Dawn. Unfortunately, it's about 30 minutes long.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Scott Bowles

    This is all about escape. And as prison-break movies go, Rescue ranks among the best.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Rick Groen

    The strangely hybrid result, half Herzog and half Hollywood, plays like its own battleground. Sometimes, the tension is fascinatingly productive; other times, all we get is the worst of both worlds.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    Rescue Dawn is Herzog's first English-language screenplay, and this is part of its problem: The hushed conversations between prisoners sound only fitfully idiomatic. Also--crucially--Herzog can't find a way to make his own big finish feel authentic, even if things did happen roughly this way.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Staff (Not credited)

    Herzog’s planted rather too firmly in his discomfort zone, but Bale once again confirms himself as one of our most intense, committed and watchable actors.

    Empire Full Review
  • Paula Nechak

    It's a well-acted but rote and strictly by the book "war movie."

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • Marc Mohan

    Herzog's drive to bring Dengler's story to a wide audience might have paradoxically caused him to do what he seems normally to abhor: compromise.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
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