Saturday, 19 February 2011

Rescue Dawn (2006)

Some shocking scenes - 4.5/5
So I saw this film the other day called 'Rescue Dawn'. I thought ok, so Christian Bale plays a fighter pilot who is captured in Vietnam and then one day escapes, fine. You can probably guess what I imagined when I read the description of the film; I pictured an all out action with a heroic Christian Bale leading a daring escape. What I got was a darkly comic Bale playing a character obsessed with escape and, some could argue, bordering on madness by the end of the film. I was surprised, but in an extremely good way. I longed to see the thin and fragile Bale we saw in 'The Machinist' (2004) and that was exactly what we got. It seems that, if you need a lead male who can play both muscle men ('American Psycho' (2000)) and characters who can only be described as unhealthily thin, you choose Bale.
The comedy in the film can only be described as dark, with attempts to make light of the situation that faces the prisoners. The script stemmed totally from Bale, every speech was carried by his fast paced intellectuality. Unfortunately one of the main detractors of the film was Jeremy Davies. You may remember him as Daniel Farraday in 'Lost' and in this role he excelled, with his husky, slow voice building up the drama necessary in a TV series such as 'Lost'. However, I found that in 'Rescue Dawn' he was using a dialect that sounded like whispering in a foreign language. I really wanted to like his character but I just couldn't.
So far so good, but the film needed an edge. We certainly got it with the genuinely shocking scenes showing the torture of Bale's character Dieter Dengler and a very unexpected decapitation of Dengler's escape partner, which pretty much came from nowhere. BAM. Head on the floor without any hesitation. 'Rescue Dawn' managed to shock me and make me laugh, I didn't expect either.
Would I recommend it? Without a shadow of a doubt. Bale at his fragile best.


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