Rescue Dawn (2006)

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Released 19-Mar-2008

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category War Audio Commentary-Director Werner Herzog and Interviewer Norman Hill
Featurette-Unfinished Business: Telling Dieter's Story
Featurette-Strength of Character
Featurette-War Stories
Featurette-What Would Dieter Do?
Deleted Scenes
Rating ?
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 120:08
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Werner Herzog
Entertainment One Starring Zach Grenier
Marshall Bell
Christian Bale
Toby Huss
Pat Healy
James Oliver
Case ?
RPI ? Music Klaus Badelt

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Rescue Dawn is the kind of film that makes you shake your head at Hollywood, not because the film is bad (it's actually quite good) but because it's obvious that Hollywood are unable to market films that fall outside the pigeonhole of one their formulaic blockbusters. Released in the peak box office season of July, Rescue Dawn simply got buried by the competition and did a paltry $7m US at the box office. A real shame considering this is actually one of 2007's better films.

    Rescue Dawn tells the Vietnam War tale of Dieter Dengler, an US Navy pilot who is shot down over Laos. The film is based on the actual events that took place and details Dengler being shot down, his capture and detainment in a POW camp and his eventual escape.

    Dengler (Christian Bale) is a German born, American bred pilot whose love and enthusiasm for planes and flying sees him enlist in the Navy. He seems like the ultimate boy scout, ultra prepared, always optimistic and an absolute realist. In short, the kind of guy you'd like to have on your side when the proverbial hits the fan.

    Although shot on a low budget (which is painfully obvious in the film's early fighter plane sequence) the film totally immerses you into Dengler's bleak plight and the hostile environment he finds himself in. Shot almost guerilla style, you feel like you are there in the thick of it with him.

    The cast is first class. Bale's ability to morph into character and his talent in balancing bigger roles, with smaller ones like this make him stand out as one of the actors of his generation. He literally melts away in this role and underwent severe weight loss to play the part. Steve Zahn is also outstanding, I don't remember seeing him in a serious role before and I hope he gets the opportunity again soon. He has some surprising dramatic chops. Jeremy Davies (of Lost Season 4 fame) is also excellent.

    If like me, you hadn't heard of this film until you saw it store shelves, you owe it to yourself to check out this film. A marvelous and inspiring true story, a top notch cast and beautifully shot on location all combine for one of 2007's true surprises.

    Highly recommended.

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Transfer Quality


    This PAL disc is presented at 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Beautifully shot using amazing locations in South East Asia it is hard to fault this transfer.  

    The picture is generally clear and enjoyable to watch. If I had one complaint, it is that some scenes can be a little soft. This could be due to the low budget nature of the film and not the transfer.

    Colours are wonderfully vivid - the jungle is incredibly green and lush, so much so that you feel like you are there with him.

    Skin tones look natural.

    Black levels are good, and shadows are decent too.

    There are no MPEG artefact issues nor are there any film artefact problems.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio is a decent English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) track.

    This track does a good job, dialogue is always clear and there are no sync or drop out issues.

     The music score came through well and added quite a lot to my viewing enjoyment.

    Surround effects were used well for discrete effects that subtly added atmospheric elements.

    There was limited subwoofer usage.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    Audio Commentary with Director Werner Herzog and Interviewer Norman Hill

    Great track, Herzog made a documentary on Dengler and knows the story and the man well. Lots of anecdotes about the shoot.



    Unfinished Business: Telling Dieter's Story (4:25): Talks briefly about Dengler, his life and experience upon which the film is based

    Strength of Character (9:25): Interview clips, making of footing and pictures of the real life Dengler.

    War Stories (24:00): Discusses the shoot and how there were no CGI scenes.

    What Would Dieter Do? (6:25): Talking about how inspirational Dengler and his experience is.


    Deleted Scenes

    Seven scenes with optional director and interviewer commentary

    Still Gallery

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The R1 only has three deleted scenes so R4 is the way to go.



    A great film, one that you shouldn't miss.

    Great video.

    Good audio.

    A good range of special features.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ben Smith (boku no bio)
Monday, October 27, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDMarantz DV4300, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL HS10 projector on 100 inch 16x9 screen + Palsonic 76WSHD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-DE685. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
SpeakersDB Dynamics VEGA series floor standers + centre, DB bipole rears, 10" 100W DB Dynamics sub

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