Monday, July 09, 2007

The War For Laos, Rescue Dawn

A few readers have been asking me if I've heard of the new movie Rescue Dawn and if I'd recommend going to see it.

I haven't seen it yet- but I will confess a particular interest in the film, although I hesitate to use the word enthusiasm.

Based on Herzog's earlier 1997 documentary, Little Dieter Needs To Fly, Christian Bale and Steve Zahn star in Rescue Dawn, an action drama by the man who has brought the world some of my favorite films, from Aguirre: The Wrath of God, Fitzcarraldo, Grizzly Man and My Best Fiend, Klaus Kinski.

Rescue Dawn recounts the true story of German-born Dieter Dengler, who dreamed of being a pilot and eventually made his way to the United States, where he joined the military during the Vietnam War era. He was shot down over Laos and captured. Eventually he organized an escape with a small band of captives.

It should be pretty obvious why I'm intrigued, as most films never touch the war for Laos with the exception of the shoddy Air America. Or arguably, Missing In Action. In a lot of ways, I can imagine the pitch for this film as being: "Air America meets Bat 21 and We Were Soldiers."

Of course, my main objections will stand: That it is once again a movie set in this time period in Laos that is perceived to be of interest only because an American soldier is at risk (Ok, he's technically a German who got into the US military, but that's splitting hairs.)

In many ways, I am glad a film like this presents an opportunity to discuss the war for Laos, but I am still left saddened by the suspicion that this is not really THE film about the war for Laos that my people and I have been waiting for years to see.

Over the years, I've run into a lot of people with 'scripts' for treatments about the war, supposedly. But to this day, I've not seen one yet that would truly do justice to the story.

But as for Rescue Dawn, I'll probably go see it, but I'm not expecting much. But I do hope it proves me wrong.


Minh said...

This movie also intrigues me.

At the beginning of the trailer, I just thought it was some Hot Shot movie, but then when I saw the jungle canopy and the explosion, I kind of cringed, instinctively knowing what was coming next.

My curiosity about this movie is about the same as when I finally saw The Killing Fields. I thought The Killing Fields was going to be about the Cambodian people, but the American reporter was its whole focus.

brent holbert said...

if you are interested in the secret war in laos check out this website it's a photo essay done in january this year about the left over bombs from the war. laos is the most bombed country in world history! check it out and click on the blog to see some shocking photos of the residue of conflict. spread the word and help bring awareness to the UXO (unexploded ordnance) issue in laos.