Hacksaw Ridge

"Excellent"

Hacksaw Ridge Review


Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action to pull the audience in from a variety of angles. The result is powerfully visceral, catching us by surprise as it scares, moves and inspires us. As a director, Mel Gibson is great at telling vivid stories that evoke intense feelings. And Andrew Garfield delivers another remarkably internalised performance that resonates strongly.

As World War II rages, Desmond (Garfield) longs to leave his rural Virginia home to help with the fighting against Germany and Japan. But as an Adventist, he refuses to touch a weapon or fight on Sunday. He enlists anyway, and is mercilessly bullied for his pacifistic beliefs all the way through boot camp. His commanding officers (Vince Vaughn and Sam Worthington) are especially hard on him, trying to force him to drop out. But his haggard WWI-veteran father (Hugo Weaving) makes a pointed plea for him to remain in the military. Eventually, his platoon is sent to fight on Hacksaw Ridge in Okinawa, where Desmond proves his bravery in ways no one expects.

This is one of those stories that we wouldn't believe if it weren't true (the film concludes with a documentary epilogue featuring interviews with the actual people). Gibson and his screenwriters continually ground scenes in tiny details that emphasise the realism, giving the actors plenty of gristle. The opening sequence on the farm is relentlessly corny Americana, with Garfield portraying a dorky bumpkin who falls for a sweet girl (Teresa Palmer) and heads naively off to war. But Garfield deepens the character with every scene, giving weight and meaning to the jaw-dropping climactic battlefield sequence. Among the supporting cast, Vaughn, Worthington and Weaving all get strong moments of their own, as do a few of Desmond's comrades. Although while Palmer and Griffiths (as Desmond's mother) are solid, there isn't much for them to do.

The film is nicely set up in three acts, with the warm glow of Desmond's small-town home contrasted with the harsh brutality of boot camp and then the insane chaos of war. Seeing Desmond maintain his self-deprecating humour and quirky attitudes in each setting creates a character who is remarkably well-rounded and consistent, a young man all of us can aspire to emulate in some way. This is a person who made a decision to choose peace and healing while everyone around him was killing each other. So as he saves one man after another - while muttering to himself, "Just one more!" - it's impossible not to be both challenged and moved.



Hacksaw Ridge

Facts and Figures

Genre: Action/Adventure

Run time: 139 mins

In Theaters: Friday 4th November 2016

Box Office USA: $63,688,345.00

Budget: $40M

Distributed by: Summit Entertainment

Production compaines: Icon Productions, Permut Presentations, Pandemonium, Cross Creek Pictures, Vendian Entertainment, Demarest Media

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Fresh: 155 Rotten: 26

IMDB: 8.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Desmond T. Doss, as Captain Glover, as Smitty Ryker, as Dorothy Schuttle, as Tom Doss, as Bertha Doss, as Sergeant Howell, Ryan Corr as Lt. Manville, as Colonel Stelzer, Luke Pegler as Milt 'Hollywood' Zane, Firass Dirani as Vito Rinnelli, Goran D. Kleut as Andy 'Ghoul' Walker, Nathaniel Buzolic as Harold Doss, as Irv Schecter, Matthew Nable as Lt. Cooney, Jacob Warner as James Pinnick, Richard Pyros as Randall "Teach" Fuller, Ben Mingay as Grease Nolan, Harry Greenwood as Henry Brown, Damien Thomlinson as Ralph Morgan, Robert Morgan as Colonel Sangston, as Lucky Ford, John Batziolas as Private Schulenburg, John Cannon as Corporal Cannon, Mikael Koski as Private Giles, Charles Jacobs as Private Webb, Ben O'Toole as Corporal Jessop

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