Sunday, July 22, 2007

Expanding that thought slightly

I could go on all day about iconography.

Clearly, seeing George Clooney in a movie like Ocean's 11 (12 or 13) brings with it the whole knowledge of George Clooney as style maker and playboy.

What then do we make of Werner Herzog's casting of Christian Bale as Dieter Dengler in Rescue Dawn?

As a young boy in Germany, Dieter Dengler was almost killed by American fighter pilots. From that moment he resolved to be an American fighter pilot.

In the Vietnam war he was shot down on his first mission, taken captive in a Laotian POW camp from which he then escaped and amazingly made it back to safety.

As a young boy, Christian Bale starred as the fictional version of the real author J.G. Ballard who was taken to a POW camp by the Japanese where he developed a fascination/love for the Kamikaze pilots who took off from the airfield next to the camp.

Coincidence? I think not.

Now Bale is an amazing actor. I thought it when I saw him in Empire of the Sun and I've thought it ever since. Herzog is a brilliant, if disturbed, director. I cannot believe that the casting was not in some strange way more or at least equally dependent on the history of Christian Bale.

The film is harrowing and amazing--and as in most Herzog films is a film about man against nature and himself more than any political side.

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