Dengler immediately plans to escape, but receives only grudging approval from the others. All are suffering from malnutrition, unhygienic conditions and abuse by the guards. After some months the food supply worsens further, and they learn that the starving guards are planning to kill them and return to their village, so the prisoners agree to put the long-prepared plan into action. This involves escaping through a weakened place in the perimeter fence, dividing into two groups, circling the perimeter fence in opposite directions, converging on the guard hut during the lunch hour to overwhelm the guards, and contacting the American forces for rescue.
Dengler and Martin try to reach the Mekong River to cross over into Thailand, fashioning a crude raft, but are caught in rapids and a waterfall. After losing their raft, Dengler and Martin are soon found by a mob of angry villagers, who kill Martin. Dengler escapes and flees back into the jungle, hiding from the pursuing villagers. A few days later, he is rescued by an American helicopter. Back at the U.S. compound he is taken to, Dengler is kept isolated in a hospital for debriefing due to the classified nature of his mission. He is visited by some of the men from his squadron, who covertly take him back to his ship, where he is welcomed as a hero by the crew.
Dengler and fellow POW Duane W. Martin made their eventual run from their prisoner camp into dense jungle. Martin was killed by an enraged Laotian villager, but Dengler was able to continue on. Two rescue helicopters were scrambled to rescue Dengler, dropping a cable down to the human figure they spotted below. They winched him on board, but fearful that he could be a Viet Cong suicide bomber, the crew pinned the man to the helicopter floor and searched him. His backpack turned out to contain only a half-eaten snake. Dengler, exhausted by his ordeal, whispered: "I am an American pilot. Please take me home."
Retired Air Force Col. Eugene Deatrick, left, who rescued Navy Lt. Dieter Dengler, a POW during the Vietnam War, chats with Steve Zahn, who plays Air Force 1st Lt. Duane Martin in the movie "Rescue Dawn. The movie is about Lieutenant Dengler's capture and escape. Colonel Deatrick and Mr. Zahn met during a June 18 premiere at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. "Rescue Dawn will be out in theaters in New York and Los Angeles July 4, then go nationwide July 13. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bobby Jones)
Hopelessly downtrodden, Duane tells Dengler to keep his head down and endure the best he can. Delusional and wild-eyed, Gene believes it is only a matter of time before the American government rescues them.
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Much of Rescue Dawn takes place in the camp. Dieter soon assumes a leadership role among the prisoners. Both Duane and Gene have been worn down by torture, boredom, and fatigue. Gene does not want to risk an escape, confident that they will be either released or rescued. Duane suffers from physical symptoms as a result of maltreatment and lack of nutrition. The men are shackled together at night to keep them from escaping, and subjected to other tortures and threats. Dieter manages to keep a level head through it all and eventually plans and executes an escape from the camp.
Although Rescue Dawn is slow in pacing, never using any of composer Klaus Badelt's eerie score to make thingsseem grandiose or heroic, there's a great deal of tension and suspense throughout the film. With not knowing exactly how the storyprogresses or just what evils the POWs will have to endure next, the audience is set on the edge of their seat as they becomepulled into the camp alongside Dieter and his buddies. Watching what they go through serves as a reminder of what frivolities we take for granted, and what basic necessities like cleanliness, or even a hearty meal, we grow conditioned too. To know these freedomscan be stripped away at any time is a sobering thought. It's widely known that Dieter Dengler was the only American POW of the Viet Nam war to escape, and when the inevitable rescue comes in the film, and a comrade hands Dengler as simple a pleasure as a Butterfingerbar, it's such an impacting moment to watch Bale's reaction as we can feel the emotion of that moment along with him. But among the horror of it all, spirituality is barely touched upon. At one bleak moment, Dieter is shown offering up a single prayer of"God, where are you when we need you most?" The story soon follows it with a pretty tragic moment which almost is to say thatHe doesn't show in times of despair. Later on, when his fellow Naval friend ask him what he has learned about God and country,Dengler just spouts some nonsensical answer. One might expect a person in such a faith-trying experience to maybe have some hope,but at least this version of Dengler has clung to nothing spiritual.
Rescue Dawn is definitely a well-made POW/war film that tells a fascinating story about survival, friendship,and loyalty to one's country. A heavy film that isn't for everyone, it's an emotional experience that is more educational thanentertainment. Definitely not a film to see if you're looking for a summer action movie. It focuses more on realism than heroism,and drama more than anything. With the historical accuracy up for debate (You may want to check out www.rescuedawnthetruth.comwhich argues against some of the story elements in the movie, labeling them as lies, but it's possibly just someone's opinion.Also, keep in mind the site gives spoilers of the film), I would have rather the film stick to as much truth as possible, and I wouldhave liked it better knowing that. If what is present in Rescue Dawn was all truth, I'd have to say it was certainly a strong film...just not really one you'd want to watch over and over or ultimately recommend.
When Dengler is rescued, the helicopters are UH-1Ds which were correct (they were introduced in 1963) and supplemented the A,B & C models operating in Vietnam. However, their paint job is woodland camo, which is not correct. 041b061a72