Hacksaw Ridge was one of those movies that immediately piqued my interest, and not just because it’s a war movie, or because of it’s incredible true story, but in large part due to it being Mel Gibson’s first foray back into Hollywood ever since his you know what incident (I won’t bring it back up but it rhymes with manti shmemitic). Despite all of his personal demons it’s hard not to acknowledge his incredible talent with film, and film with large scale battles in particular.
For those that don’t know the story of Hacksaw Ridge, it was one of the deadliest battles of the Pacific front during WWII and Desmond Doss was America’s first conscientious objector to receive the medal of Honor for his role in saving 75 soldiers from the front lines after his squad had already retreated and all without ever picking up a weapon due to his devout religious beliefs.
It was a little in your face with it’s moral and religious values, but that’s expected with any Mel Gibson film.
It’s an incredible true story that’s almost too good to be true and that’s what I was worried about when it came to the movie. I was worried that they would over sell the events, instead of letting the truth carry the load like most “true” stories do. But I’m happy to say that outside of a few scenes, like one guy going Rambo against dozens of enemies, it was fairly grounded. It was a little in your face with it’s moral and religious values, but that’s expected with any Mel Gibson film.
The cinematography was breathtaking. From the foreboding cliff, to the muddy, blown out landscape, to the dense fog of war with figures just outlined in the distance. It’s a visual tour de force that’s matched every step of the way by its equally spectacular audio. Like any Gibson movie he doesn’t shy away from the true gore and horror of war. There’s some truly gruesome moments in there with all types of body parts flying and grievous bodily injuries. Gibson’s a master at transplanting viewers to the battlefield and Hacksaw Ridge ranks right up there with Saving Private Ryan.
From the foreboding cliff, to the muddy, blown out landscape, to the dense fog of war with figures just outlined in the distance. It’s a visual tour de force that’s matched every step of the way by its equally spectacular audio.
Andrew Garfield really got to stretch his legs this go around and he really showed that he’s got some acting chops to him. He came off as a serious man with conviction without it feeling forced. Like most war movies there’s a large supporting cast and they all do a pretty good job when given the spotlight. Towards the beginning of the movie most of them start out as your typical stereotypical characters but when the shit starts to hit the fan they give you more nuance. A real standout from the support was from Desmond’s dad, played by Hugo Weaving. He didn’t get a ton of time to shine but when he did, he did a great job.
Have you seen Hacksaw Ridge? What’d you think about it? Do you think it did his story justice? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your rating for the movie.
* SPOILERS *
The beginning of the movie was your typical type of opening for one of these true stories but outside of a few moments it felt inconsequential since you never see him return back home.
You see his brother join as well but that’s the last he gets mentioned or seen.
Hacksaw Ridge is a visual and auditory spectacle that once again shows Gibson's master ability to transplant viewers to the battlefield. It falls into some cliches and stereotypes but largely lets the incredible true story do most of the heavy lifting.