After reading a detailed article on Rescue Dawn's background and context, I made a promise to see it ... only I'm in Mexico! I'll have to wait till it comes out on DVD.
Son of German immigrants , the hero grows up to be a US Navy pilot, is shot down over Laos, and imprisoned. He is the only Viet Nam serviceman to escape a Communist prison and survived to be rescued.
Bret McCraken of Christianity Today writes ...From the opening credits of Rescue Dawn—a mesmerizing overture of haunting music and archival footage of napalm bombing—one can sense that this is not going to be a traditional war film. Anyone familiar with legendary writer/director Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man) will also know as much. But even as this film is being proclaimed as Herzog's "most mainstream" and "most accessible" film yet (which it probably is), there are still some serious layers of beauty and depth here that go beyond most any film you'll see this year.McCracken gives the movie Four Stars; read the Plugged In review.
In some ways, Rescue Dawn is less an action/adventure war film than it is a deeply complex character portrait of Dieter Dengler, the curious German-American pilot who was the first—and only—American POW to successfully escape from a Laotian prison camp during the Vietnam conflict. The film follows Dengler (Christian Bale) as he crashes his plane into the menacing, Vietcong-occupied jungles of Laos during a classified mission in 1966. He is soon captured by enemy troops, tortured, and held in captivity in a remote prison camp, where he joins several other American and Thai POWs.