Rescue Dawn

DVD Rating: ****1/2

Reviewed by: Daniel Hooper

Read Max Crawford's film review of Rescue Dawn
Rescue Dawn

It is good to see that Rescue Dawn has got the DVD package it deserves. The centre piece of this is the feature commentary by director Werner Herzog and his recurrent commentary companion/interviewer, filmmaker Walter Hill. It is an informative and entertaining commentary which addresses the mixed critical response to the film, as well as illustrating how personal this film has become to Herzog because of his earlier documentary Little Dieter Needs To Fly and friendship with the real life Dieter Dengler: “I’m proud of the film and it’s something that comes from deep inside.”

Better still is the documentary footage - lasting just under an hour - which is broken down into five featurettes for easy consumption. Made up of post-production interviews from the director, actors, and technicians, on-set, behind-the-scenes footage, as well as footage from the film, these documentary segments cover just about all you need to know - from the real life Dengler, to the harsh conditions of the shoot, to the scoring of the film. Unlike most documentaries included on DVDs, this isn’t just a self-congratulatory affair and Herzog states his regrets about the depiction of Dengler's comrade Eugene DeBruin. It is insightful seeing the hands-on nature of Herzog’s direction, as he puts himself through the same gruelling conditions his actors faced, such as travelling through snake-infested waters and walking barefoot in the jungle.

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The seven deleted scenes are a mixed bag – some are superfluous to the story (scenes from onboard the navy ship) while others add details otherwise lacking, such as where Dieter gets a mirror from. The highlights are an extended torture sequence and a traumatic scene involving a peasant being punished for theft. Accompanying these deleted scenes is an optional commentary by Herzog and Hill; on hand to explain his editorial decisions and the merits of the scenes.

Rescue Dawn also includes a large stills collection and the theatrical trailer. Rounding off a hard to fault DVD is the vibrant widescreen transfer and the high sound quality (Dolby 5:1); also included are optional English subtitles.

Reviewed on: 11 Apr 2008
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Rescue Dawn packshot
A US fighter pilot shot down in the Vietnamese jungle must go to extraordinary lengths to survive.
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Product Code: P9235SEC

Region: 2

Ratio: 16:9 anamorphic widescreen

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Commentary, making of featurettes, seven deleted scenes, trailer, stills

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