Review – Hacksaw Ridge
Hacksaw Ridge is the new film from director Mel Gibson, starring Andrew Garfield in a true story of incredible heroism during World War 2 with this biopic war movie.
The film centres on Desmond Doss, played by Garfield, a young man who enlists into the US Army during World War 2 from his hometown of Virginia.
A religious man, Doss is willing to enlist and go to war, however is a concisentious objector and is unwilling to use a weapon. As a result, his aim is to become an army medic for his group. He quickly finds himself in basic training in the army, being targeted as a coward by members of his battalion, encouraged by the Sergeant leading the training (played by Vince Vaughan) and a source of annoyance for their Captain (Sam Worthington).
The tale progresses as Desmond continues to defend his right to go to war, but also with his right to select in what capacity he should go. This builds towards the platoon’s involvement in the war in Japan, and at an area known as Hacksaw Ridge.
It is a powerful take of courage, and a further reminder of the extent of mindless destruction that World War 2 was.
So lets get into the specifics – Firstly then, the content. It’s a war film. Anyone going to see this film, needs to be thinking about how they found the first 30 mins or so of Saving Private Ryan. That’s not a reason to not see this film, but an important scene setter about the approach that the film takes in its depiction of the later battle scenes.
For performances, it is easily the best of Garfield’s work, and all of the surrounding cast in his group deliver sterling work. One of the standout performances in the film for me was of Hugo Weaving, who plays the father of Doss, a man haunted with the memories of his own time in World War One, who has turned to alcohol to cope.
Then of course, there is the direction. Mel Gibson’s first director role since Apocalypto, and only the fifth of his career is a huge achievement. The battle scenes are hugely complex and this combined with the raw emotion that emerges through the story, talks to Gibson’s ability as a director in both engaging his cast and his audience. The quality of this film, may well spell the beginning of Hollywood’s reconciliation with the actor who fell out of favour so dramatically.
Finally there is the actual story. This story falls into the category of ‘if it was fiction, it would be derided as over the top and ridiculous‘. The true story of Doss is a remarkable tale of courage, conviction and displays of humanity in the least humane of settings.
The film has already be rewarded with a number of oscar nominations which are all well deserved (6 – Best Film, Director, Actor, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Film Editing). My guess would be that it will win at least one, but not one of the first three listed.
That’s what I thought – what about you? Have you seen it? Comment below and share your thoughts…