A pretty nitty and gritty POW movie, but I feel it has'tbeen pushed to the limits. But I guess since its based on a true story, fact is stranger than fiction... or Ive watched too many vietnam war movies and expected more.
Anyways, Bale plays a cocky young pilot, who on his first mission, is shot down and captured by the Viet cong. though he doesn't realise the full extent of his predicament until he is cast into an obscure prison camp with other pilots and political prisoners and realises that even if he manages to escape, how will he survive against the impassable Asian jungles? Which pretty much nearly drives him insane.
I guess it really hinged on Bale and Zahn's performance, as the mentally unstable prisoners... though the scenery and landscape does look healthy and the green is eye catching, but don't be fooled, the place is a death trap unless you know how to survive.
The only thing which annoyed me is the constant whispering... and the director decided to make it more story telling and doesn't reall instill any particular emotion in the film except for a couple pivotal moments... but this is a genre which could have taken advantage of thrills and more drama, but to me, it was just and open and shut story.
I guess what the director was trying to do was hinge on the performance of his stars, hence why the mental and emotional element was so strong in the movie, but a war movie is not essentially meant to be a study of the human mind... well they aren't really recognised for that. I mean, take First Blood for instance, the movie became famous for its over the top action and violence, but people tend to forget, unless you read the book, its a story of emotional and mental drama of a vietnam vet who was pushed too far to the limit to breaking point to which he responds with the only thing he has - his deadly skills. Its not that Im saying this should have been an all out action extravaganza, but it should have been more like Tom Hanks' "Cast Away" which was superb and engaged the viewer on all levels, and it was a "survivor" movie, and Rescue Dawn should have followed its' leading, but doesn't quite get it.
Anyways, its a good movie for Bale fans to enjoy his performance, but its not really a great war movie or survivor movie,