Yep, that's about how I felt about it.
You know nothing is ever going to touch Aguirre... or Nosferatu for me when it comes to Werner Herzog, but this was a fine film. There was a lot going on in there. Herzog has such an uncanny ability to take random things that may seem sort of trite or played on the surface, affix them to a lush landscape, and then blend the unnatural pairing of sometimes mediocre dialogue and/or characters with raw human experiences to create chaos that is contained enough to make you want to fall both cerebrally and physically headfirst into the film. He always seems to form something magnificent and riveting.
As he said when my husband and I met him years ago, he's one of the greatest directors who has ever lived. Most people I would say pish posh to if they said that, but he's the real deal.
And can I get a "yum!" for Christian Bale? Hot damn! The boy doesn't have the best range, but he does really well with what he's got and looks great while he's doing it (his eyes actually do the most work to make his characters), and holy smokes is he dedicated. Can't wait for The Dark Knight next year.
Anyway, it was well done. You must go see it.
But after you see it, be sure to take a look at this site -- created by the family of POW Eugene DeBruin and featuring POW Pisidhi Indradat (the last surviving POW who escaped the camp in the film) -- for a different take on Herzog's portrayal of DeBruin. The way Herzog portrays DeBruin definitely adds to the tension and story of the film (and apparently illustrates why there are those disclaimers at the end about characters in the film) but the DeBruin story from his family is a 180 from Herzog's. Their story gave all of the characters new depth, but also made me feel quite sad for how they felt the film tarnished Eugene's memory.
Sure, Rescue Dawn is a film only based on true events and has the disclaimers, but many people won't look at it as such. And hell, it uses real names of the POWs. After reading this I felt it to be an important element to the truth and honor of the whole story.
BTW, I also saw Transformers this weekend. Totally fun, except for the forced sentimentality and romance bits (c'mon, it's Transformers -- no one cares about that stuff!) Made me feel like a little kid again, and also made me wonder where my Transformer is buried in my parents' yard.
I don't care what they say, the demographic for this movie is 30 year olds, for real. You want to see this on the big screen, as it is Michael Bay all the way.