MOVIE REVIEW: “Hacksaw Ridge” stars Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man , 99 Homes), Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies, I Am Number Four), Luke Bracey (Point Break , The November Man), Hugo Weaving (Captain America: The First Avenger, The Matrix), Rachel Griffiths (Blow, Brothers & Sisters [TV series]), Vince Vaughn (The Internship, Wedding Crashers), Sam Worthington (Avatar, Clash of the Titans), and Luke Pegler (The Condemned, Fool’s Gold). It is directed by Mel Gibson (Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ), with the screenplay being written by Robert Schenkkan (All the Way, The Quiet American) and Andrew Knight (The Water Diviner, Siam Sunset). Based on a true story, this film focuses on Desmond Doss (Garfield), a medic of the US army during World War II who used no weapon on the battlefield, opting to rescue people rather than kill them.
Mel Gibson returns to the director’s chair in this test-of-faith film, recommended to me by many people. No, I wasn’t clamoring to see it, nor did I really take much interest in it to begin with. The trailers didn’t do the picture any service, and after watching the release, I would blame my disinterest on bad marketing. Gibson has been known for violence in his films, whether it be “Braveheart” or the climax of “The Passion of the Christ,” though I didn’t expect the amount of gore and grit to be displayed in this flick. Bodies were blown to bits and blood was seen gushing out of every ligament, all to prove how brutal war truly is. I’ve seen enough gore in my time with film to be unfazed by most of this, though I will say that it is nothing to be underestimated. This is a feature that uses its violence to promote its theme: how an act of kindness, absent of violence, can go a long way. The trailers made this idea look hokey, as if they were saying pitting peace signs against weapons of mass destruction was a fair fight. However, Gibson did well in fleshing out this true tale, as it was engaging, thought provoking, and entertaining. Sure, it holds the typical tropes all war films do, such as joking comrades, bullying, an angry drill sergeant, and a relationship made before the war, but thankfully it didn’t overindulge on these instances. There were some good performances as well as strong emotions that backed up this release, and I thought that they both crafted a great product in the long run. Andrew Garfield, while weird in his portrayal, did fine. His work on “99 Homes” redeemed himself for me after viewing his terrible run as Spider-Man a while back, so I hoped for another solid performance (which I got one, for the most part). All of the supporting cast did a good job as well, with the best actor, in my opinion, being Hugo Weaving. The man is already one of my favorite actors, but he blew his part out of the park. I got some chills during the dinner sequence where he finds out his son has enlisted; he’s truly a force to be reckoned with in the industry. Studying the plot itself, it is essentially what you would expect: a soldier doesn’t use weapons, but rescues a lot of people. There is a ton of build up to this point, though, as a little over half of the story is development. I enjoyed this, as it added better impact to the battle itself, rather than having us thrown into the heat of war after twenty minutes of introduction. You care more for the characters, especially whenever they become a casualty of war. I didn’t necessarily feel deeply for these characters depicted, but I did for their situation, as war is a terrible thing to be put through. As for the effects of the battle that took place, they were awesome. It doesn’t get much more real than this; although I knew it was all fake, it still looked as if someone was either split in half, or gushing from the leg. Some may gag or feel nauseous in the experience, but I was more intrigued than anything. How the special effects department pulled it off is beyond me. Overall, this is yet another solid war movie to add to the pot. It’s unique in its theme, though it does hold the same water most war films do, lessening the value/score of the overall feature. If you are looking for a gritty picture that has strong Christian morals backing it up, then I’d recommend you to this one. FINAL SCORE: 90%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: