After watching this documentary I have discovered that Werner Herzog is among the best directors working today. Unfortunately, I still haven't seen Grizzly Man, which I've heard only glowing things about. When I bought Rescue Dawn, I didn't recognize his name, and I even thought he was one of those famously bad directors, more well-known for their bad taste and incompetence than anything else (like Uwe Boll or Eli Roth or any of the idiot Wayans brothers). Nevertheless, I bought it because I'll watch Christian Bale do anything. I don't think he's ever done anything less than stellar acting.
As far as making-of documentaries, this one is longer than many, it gives much more detail about the production and the experiences of the cast and crew, including extensive interviews with Herzog and his brilliant cinematographer. But most of all I loved the descriptions of shooting on location in Thailand and the relationships that certain cast and crew members had with each other on set.
Werner Herzog, also, at one point mentions how important it was to him to have as few digital effects in the film as possible. This is one of the only times I've ever heard a director verbally acknowledge that digital effects generally take away more than they add to a film, and it was then that I knew that I need to get some more of his films and pay more attention to him.
The stories that Christian Bale and Jeremy Davies and Steve Zahn tell are fascinating and give a clear picture of what it was like making the movie, and all of them delivered astonishing performances. They talk about how Herzog would sometimes film them when they didn't know they were being filmed, and he captured some of the most convincing stuff in the film, because they weren't acting, they were just living in the jungle, and Herzog captured their experience. It's not often that a director as brilliant as that comes along.
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