Rescue Dawn Reviews

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Hank Sartin
Time Out
November 18, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
November 17, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Bob Mondello
NPR.org
October 18, 2008
Rescue Dawn may not feel much like a Herzog movie, but it's a gripping real-life thriller.
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
August 20, 2007
But just as exciting -- maybe even more so, for those who love the medium and, especially, the uplift of the great-escape genre -- Rescue Dawn is a triumphant Werner Herzog movie.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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August 13, 2007
Herzog builds this movie around another strong, eccentric performance from Bale, who is gaining a reputation for outsized talent and for downsized physicality.
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Cliff Froehlich
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
July 28, 2007
Although the film delivers the expected action and efficiently jacks up the suspense, longtime devotees of the director will undoubtedly miss the visionary qualities that have long distinguished his work.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
July 27, 2007
It's easy to understand why Herzog was driven to tell this story twice.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
July 27, 2007
Takes what could have been a mundane if well-made war story into something greater -- more harrowing, more hungry and more human.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
July 27, 2007
The performances here are as excellent as they are unnerving.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Randy Cordova
Arizona Republic
July 26, 2007
... everything about Rescue Dawn feels real ...
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
July 25, 2007
Perhaps if [director Herzog] had tossed in a few Chevys that transform into robots, the studio would have given him the cash to make Rescue Dawn definitive, instead of generic, which is the best he manages here.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Michael Booth
Denver Post
July 20, 2007
That heart-stopping beginning tells us Herzog is again in top form, richly depicting the true story of the only American POW known to have escaped from Laotian captivity.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
July 19, 2007
Herzog shows all of this with a fresh, observant eye. While sadism is a staple of most POW movies, Herzog focuses on the punishing tedium and deprivation of confinement. And filming on location in Thailand gives the film a harshly sensual look.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
July 19, 2007
If Rescue Dawn isn't about heroism, then it's about something deeper, more primitive: survival instinct.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Dana Stevens
Slate
July 13, 2007
If you're looking for a weekend movie that's heart-stoppingly suspenseful and inspiring, as well as brainy, funny, and strange, seek out Rescue Dawn.
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
July 13, 2007
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.
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
July 13, 2007
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.
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
July 13, 2007
An odd but vivid and compelling mixture of big-movie showmanship and eccentric vision.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle
July 13, 2007
Herzog aims this genre effort at a broader audience than he usually gets, and he does so without losing his soul. It's a remarkably straightforward tale that allows the director to dwell on obsessions familiar to those who know his work.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Mario Tarradell
Dallas Morning News
July 13, 2007
Rescue Dawn avoids all the land mines inherent in most war movies. There's no hero worship; no noisy, confusing, special-effects-enhanced battle scene.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Richard Roeper
Chicago Sun-Times
July 13, 2007
Herzog makes no attempt to pump this story up into a thrilling adventure. There is nothing thrilling about dysentery, starvation, insect bites and despair.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
July 13, 2007
Those coming to Rescue Dawn cold will probably accept it as a straightforward, even predictable account of POW suffering, and they'll hang on Bale's muscular portrayal of a man who refuses to say die.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
July 12, 2007
Its tone is reflective, not combative, and it operates on a lulling rhythm, so that the jungles become either mesmerizing or a narcotic, depending on your blood sugar.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Bruce Demara
Toronto Star
July 6, 2007
Workmanlike and watchable, Rescue Dawn is nonetheless a disappointment in its depiction of a hero with plenty of scars but little depth or substance beyond an iron will.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
July 6, 2007
In its study of an American pilot, surviving only because of his single-minded obsession with staying alive, Rescue Dawn is compelling and dramatic and emotional.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Kyle Smith
New York Post
July 6, 2007
What a sweet collision is Rescue Dawn: the American psycho meets the German kook.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
July 6, 2007
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
July 6, 2007
The whole last act is, to borrow a Martin Amis phrase, a losing war against cliché.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
July 5, 2007
Although nothing beats seeing and hearing the real story, Herzog has done a fairly compelling job of blending staged action with docudrama authenticity.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
July 5, 2007
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 -- a cross between MacGyver and Candide.
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Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
July 5, 2007
Werner Herzog is finally unveiling the first American narrative feature of his long career. As any Herzog fan would expect, it's an odd and thrilling mixture, and I can't imagine a better Fourth of July present to his adopted country.
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Scott Bowles
USA Today
July 5, 2007
As prison-break movies go, Rescue ranks among the best.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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David Ansen
Newsweek
July 5, 2007
As taut and exciting as many edge-of-your-seat Hollywood escape movies.
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J. Hoberman
Village Voice
July 5, 2007
As conventionally framed and lit as it is, Rescue Dawn is the closest thing to a 'real' movie that Herzog has ever made.
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Matt Zoller Seitz
New York Times
July 5, 2007
A satisfying genre picture that challenges the viewer's expectations.
| Original Score: 4/5
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
July 5, 2007
With its high level of verisimilitude, unhurried pace, and stretches of tension, Rescue Dawn represents a solid effort from Herzog that fans of the genre should actively seek out.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
July 3, 2007
Problematic is Herzog's wildly romanticized view of his protagonist. No matter what tortures he faces, Dieter never has a moment of vulnerability. He's not a man, he's a superhero.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Scott Tobias
AV Club
July 3, 2007
[Bale and Zahn lend] this more or less conventional POW escape film resounding emotional depth.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Anthony Lane
New Yorker
July 3, 2007
[Rescue Dawn] offers its own vision of deprivation but doesn't linger long enough, even mid-jungle, to leave us in the kind of directionless trance that was conjured by Aguirre and Every Man for Himself.
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
July 3, 2007
A small miracle -- a smart popcorn movie.
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Jan Stuart
Newsday
July 2, 2007
If you know the original, then you may receive this gripping and faithful dramatization as a kind of cinematic experiment in the relative merits of the spoken word vs. the illustrated.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
June 27, 2007
A potentially commercial audience-pleaser that retains all of the characteristic Herzog complexity and nuance, Rescue Dawn is an electrifying action adventure that clamps your nerves with jaws of steel.
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
June 25, 2007
This is a tough movie-going experience with a couple of bizarre twists at the end. It's also a film you won't soon forget.
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
June 25, 2007
The film, Rescue Dawn, is so good it makes you wish that [director Werner] Herzog had gone Hollywood earlier in his career.
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Leslie Felperin
Variety
September 12, 2006
This polished, cleanly made pic still packs a wrenching emotional punch and, if backed by critics and auds, could earn more for Herzog than his last 10 features put together.