Title – Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
Director – Mel Gibson (Braveheart)
Cast – Andrew Garfield, Teresa Palmer, Vince Vaughan, Hugo Weaving, Sam Worthington, Rachel Griffiths, Luke Bracey
Plot – The true story of World War 2 American medic Desmond Doss (Garfield) whose beliefs sent him to war without a gun as he and his fellow soldiers were tasked with taking Hacksaw Ridge on the fiercely contested island of Okinawa.
“I don’t think this is a question of religion. I think this is cowardice”
Review by Eddie on 08/11/2016 – For Jordan’s take on the film click HERE
It’s been a long hard road back, but with Hacksaw Ridge the long ridiculed and often ostracised Mel Gibson has once more announced himself to the movie world with a unique and affecting war film that is arguably the best of its kind since Saving Private Ryan stormed the beaches in 1998.
In the process of his fight back to redemption, Gibson who has long been a powerful storyteller, has also created one of the most fully formed and impressive Australian films of all time with Hacksaw Ridge providing us with an impressive and on form cast, a stunningly captured film that features some of the most intense battle scenes conducted on film and a real life central figure that well and truly deserves the airtime he gets in this movie.
More than likely inspired by his own faiths and beliefs, Gibson has in the story of war medic Desmond Doss (played here by Andrew Garfield, in the best form his been in since his breakthrough Boy A), a man who refused against all the odds to hold a weapon during the war thanks to his firm stance against taking a human life, found a character that brings out the best in the filmmaker and with a strong initial set up of Doss, followed by a gruelling time at boot camp and a blood filled campaign in Okinawa that provides this war epic with a heart and soul that makes it an experience that can be enthralling for viewers of all shapes and sizes.
The enthralling nature of Hacksaw Ridge stems from its focus on not being a simple war story, it’s all at once an affecting tale of love, an examination of one’s stance to remain true to what they believe in and an ear shattering, nerve rattling depiction of war and while the middle section of Gibson’s film lingers on slightly too long and a repetitive nature of events threatens to derail the tales great opening and incoming spectacle, Gibson and his troops that includes an awards worthy supporting turn from Huge Weaving as Doss’s alcoholic father, Vince Vaughan’s likeable army sergeant and another turn from Teresa Palmer that suggests she’s very much verging on becoming Australia’s next big thing, make sure that Hacksaw Ridge never allows itself to dip below anything but a fantastic overall production.
It’s not for the faint of heart and many may find the war scenes within Hacksaw Ridge to authentic to bear but this is a film that showcases many of the best elements of Gibson as a filmmaker and in telling a worthy real life story, Gibson has announced himself once more to an industry that could’ve easily been done with him and this impressive film is a likely contender at the upcoming awards season, bringing about the recognition that Gibson’s past failings have once and for all been forgotten about.
4 rope burns out of 5