Stephen Low directed this documentary on four individuals – three military officers and a volunteer firefighter – who calmly engage in every day acts of heroism. U.S. Air Force Capt. Lauren Ross, Nevada Army National Guard Maj. Matthew Jonkey and Canadian Forces Maritime Command Commander Peter Crain detail how today’s North American military forces provide aid and support for humanitarian missions outside of a war zone, while fireman Stephen Heicklen provides selfless and life-risking input in rescuing people from fiery death. All four of these individuals, along with dozens of their peers, were part of the humanitarian effort to save lives in Haiti following the devastating 2009 earthquake.
Each of these real-life heroes is truly admirable, and it is the viewer’s good fortune that Low brought their respective life stories to the screen. However, “Rescue” was originally intended for exhibition in 3D on the supersized IMAX screen, and a surplus number of scenes were framed to take full advantage of this widescreen format.
On the smaller screen, however, much of the power of the IMAX cinematography is lost and the viewer is watching longer-than-necessary shots of roaring ocean waves and sweeping landscapes. And for those watching the 2D DVD version instead of the 3D Blu-ray, the impact is completely lost.
The astonishingly heartbreaking scenes in Haiti, however, retain their raw emotional power in any viewing format, and this record of courage amid unfathomable horror ultimately saves the home release version of “Rescue.”