| WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people and dedicates himself to save as many man from the battlefield as possible.
Hacksaw Ridge can be described as the pacific campaign of Saving Private Ryan, with plenty of explosions, bullets, and flamethrowers to light up the silver screen. While it’s first 15 minutes is a total cheeseball fest, the movie ends being a strong canditate for my #1 spot of best movie of the year. You’ll be cringing as all hell breaks loose in high definition sound and incredible special (not cheesy) effects that will drag you into the depths of battle. You might find yourself at the edge of your seat watching your hero tear through the scarred land, jumping through the carnage to take down a bunker.
Gibson returned to the director’s chair to helm this true story, giving his touch of humanistic quality, anti-war themes and brutality to the horrors of war to much great detail. The direction is pretty much on point throughout and never loses itself. The brutal battle itself, the violence here is given so much detail, not holding back on the horrors of war and the devastating effect it carried on both sides. The production design, sound mixing, editing and scale of the battle is as intense, horrifying and respectful to the details and real life experiences to what we’ve read in history books, but it is filmed with beautiful shots and brutal detailing that echoes much to Saving Private Ryan’s D-Day battle sequence.
“While everybody is taking life I’m going to be saving it, and that’s going to be my way to serve”
Hard to find fault in this movie, as Gibson and company did so well making this epic war drama. However, there were a few things as I said before, the first 15 minutes was a total cheeseball fest and it got me very worried. It is almost a too happy and too quirky love story to begin the film with, but once the training and controversy began and Gibson eventually brought us onto the battlefield, my jaw dropped to the floor. It was like if Mel Gibson was patting your head and said; “Such a lovely movie isn’t it…beautiful love story…wow they are so cute together aren’t they?” And follows it up with a hard punch in the stomach and all hell broke loose.
Garfield is cast to perfection as the wide-eyed and straight talking man of unshakeable principle and Palmer convincingly plays his adorable emotional anchor. Together with a strong support cast that includes several big-name stars, this is a powerful ensemble that carries the story convincingly. Hugo Weaving showed me something I’ve never seen from him and that is he can emote very well. He played the drunkard, war scarred father with no problem and was believable every step of the way. Vince Vaughn was just hilarious playing the insulting bigoted drill sergeant. The things he said was just off the wall and placed a good bit of humor and a bit of accuracy of how old school drill sergeants were back then.
The film is the perfect material for someone like Gibson to make his entry back into Hollywood with the hope that moviegoers can focus in on the story. He pulls no punches in how graphic he allows the film to get, but that’s the truth behind World War II. He brings out a different viewpoint on how we think of soldiers. In some war films, soldiers are thought of as killing machines who get a high out of taking down our enemy. Desmond Doss is the opposite. He had great strength, determination, and faith to help his country outside of picking up a rifle. Hacksaw Ridge is very much a religious film. If that doesn’t bother you, it will no doubt be a powerful and moving piece and great reminder of the films Mel Gibson can make.
‘Hacksaw Ridge’ gets a 9.1/10.
Shot on 35's rating sheet: 9.5 – 10.0: Excellent! 8.5 – 9.5: Fantastic, but with minor flaws 7.5 – 8.5: Great, but with issues 6.5 – 7.5: Okay, but with major issues 5.5 – 6.5: Had potential, but falls flat hard. 4.5 – 5.5: Disaster!