Rescue Dawn may be one of the best POW breakout movies I've ever seen. There haven't really been that many good ones. There's The Great Escape but then what? The Great Raid? No.
Movie Review: Rescue Dawn
Based on a true story, German born US pilot Dieter Dengler (Christian Bale) gets shot down over Laos. Tortured and taken to a prison camp, he plans an escape with his fellow American captives.
Simple story, the film just moves. He meets the stereotypes in the camp, the positive hopeful one who thinks they'll just be rescued, the cynical beaten down one just trying to survive. Presumably these were all real people and it's natural that such an experience could delineate personalities into such distinctions, but they work for the film. Dieter has to make a case for his plan, and face resistance along the way.
We get to see every little detail of his plan from how he gets out of handcuffs to how they track the guards' routines. The planning is exciting and suspenseful as is the eventual execution of it.
Bale is truly different in every movie. His Dieter is not some American hot shot, cocky in the face of danger. He's just a simple guy who likes to fly. He's not trying to kick ass in the escape. He's just doing what he has to do since nobody else is breaking him out. There's no bravado. He just expects to succeed.
Rescue Dawn covers all the emotions you want a movie to. It's scary in the torture scenes, exciting in the rousing scenes and touching as the men do what little they can to keep each other going. There's more than just the breakout so it's not like you know exactly what's going to happen. It's just a good, all around, well rounded movie.