Hacksaw Ridge, 2016

Directed by: Mel Gibson

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey

IMDb

Hacksaw Ridge is definitely worth seeing. Great performances, directing, cinematography with a really inspiring story, based on true events.

The story is about Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield). A conscientious objector in WWII acting as a combat medic. The first half of the film plays out like a Christian drama with Doss growing up in the south, developing the wish to never kill anyone and fighting for his right to not bare arms, while training in boot camp. The second half takes place in Hacksaw Ridge, Okinawa, where the battle takes place and Doss proves his worth without ever having to handle a weapon.

I think this was the perfect story for Mel Gibson to be directing. If his style can be narrowed down to two elements they would be Christian Values and Intense violence/graphic imagery. This story already embodies both really well, and Gibson managed to take it a step further. The film is very heavy-handed when it comes to the religious values it presents, but never forces them upon the viewer, nor criticises those who don’t. It’s some of the least judgemental/propagandistic use of religion I’ve ever seen in a film.

The battle scenes were also very well handled, cleverly using elements from horror films in order to put the audience in the terrifying position of the soldiers. It’s very intense and doesn’t hold back on graphic acts or images, but I feel like this only works to the film’s benefit. Like I said before, this is just a really good story. Once the actual acts that Doss is known for start happening, it’s really hard to not feel a sense of awe to know that this really happened.

I have very few real criticisms here. Like most films based on a true story, the pacing is a bit wonky, as the screenwriters had to work around the actual order of events. Some bits also end up seeming a bit cheesy, which thrusts you out of the film to wonder if that really happened.

I highly recommend Hacksaw Ridge. Go see it!

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