Whether it was Braveheart or The Passion of the Christ, if Mel Gibson steps into the director’s chair, he intends to make a movie that will shake you to the core. His new film, on which he means to establish his comeback, is no exception.
The war to end all wars was raging and Desmond Doss, played fiercely by Andrew Garfield, could not stand idle while men no better or worse than he were risking life and limb to defend what makes America special, so he enlisted in the army for the purpose of becoming a medic, but his enlistment came at a great complication: he was a conscientious objector and his faith would not allow him to touch a gun or any weapon.
After clearing legal hurdles that almost had him dishonorably discharged, Private Doss and his unit were ordered to Japan to take Hacksaw Ridge. Doss went into the fires of hell to save every life he could find armed with nothing but his faith; in the span of two or three days after his unit fell back, Doss stayed on the ravaged battlefield of Hacksaw Ridge and saved the lives of 75 wounded souls.
Hacksaw Ridge is relentless! This is a film about a man with unshakable conviction and unparalleled valor and credit should be showered upon Mel Gibson and screenwriters Andrew Knight and Robert Schenkkan for crafting such a powerful and gripping war drama to highlight such a hero such as Private Desmond Doss, who rightfully received the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions on Hacksaw Ridge.
Andrew Garfield should be on the fast-track to receive his first Oscar nomination for such a tour-de-force performance as Desmond Doss and Hugo Weaving is as excellent in his supporting role as Doss’ father. The rest of the cast including Teresa Palmer, Rachel Griffiths, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, Richard Roxburgh, Robert Morgan, and many others go the distance in this film that just hits you and just doesn’t let up an inch!
Simon Duggan’s cinematography beautifully captures every frame of the action whether Desmond is home in Virginia courting Dorothy, catching hell at boot camp on Fort Jackson or witnessing the hell and horrors of battle at Hacksaw Ridge and John Gilbert’s editing seamlessly transitions from action to action effortlessly.
Rupert Greggson Williams’ score is a tad excessive but it falls in line with some of the great film scores of war dramas past. The production design, courtesy of Barry Robison, and the art direction of Jacinta Leong and Mark Robins, as well as the makeup, set decoration; everything that was caught on camera was design to compel and shock and Hacksaw Ridge is one of the most visually compelling films I’ve seen so far this year.
Upon leaving this movie, I was thoroughly convinced that Hacksaw Ridge is a definitive contender for multiple Academy Award nominations including Best Director and Best Picture because this film is designed to exceed expectations and make a statement and if the Academy loves a comeback, it will love Mel Gibson in a few months.
Be warned, the squeamish will probably not be able to stomach the graphic nature of this picture but the gore and the guts are what make up for the artistic value of Hacksaw Ridge. In fact, there were times I wanted to look away at the horror of the spectacle but I couldn’t because I was so enrapt of the action and I didn’t want to miss a moment of what was happening.
Hacksaw Ridge is without question, one of the best films of 2016 because it is a story about an underdog, who wants to go into danger and with nothing but genuine courage under fire, becomes a hero without raising a fist. I loved this movie!