Release Date: November 4, 2016
Director: Mel Gibson
Writer: Robert Schenkkan, Andrew Knight
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Richard Pyros, Jacob Warner, Milo Gibson, Darcy Bryce, Roman Guerriero, James Lugton, Kasia Stelmach, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths, Jarin Towney, Tim McGarry, Tyler Coppin, Teresa Palmer, Richard Pratt, Nathaniel Buzolic, Laura Buckton, Anthony Rizzo, Simon Edds, Thatcher McMaster, Charles Jacobs, Dennis Kreusler, Firass Dirani, Michael Sheasby, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 131 minutes
Production Company: Cross Creek Pictures, IM Global, Icon Productions, AI-Film, Pandemonium, Permut Presentations, Windy Hill Pictures, Vendian Entertainment, Demarest Media, Kilburn Media, Argent Pictures, Bliss Media, Cosmos Filmed Entertainment, Kylin Pictures, Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate
Genre: Biography, Drama, Romance
Country: Australia, USA
Budget: $45,000,000 (estimated)
For such a hard time during American history (World War II), it would’ve been easier to just jump in line, doing what the great powers at be suggested. It was an emotional set of years strung up on passion and rage to do what was thought to be right. Everyone had their own ideals and stood by them firmly. Even Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) had a set of his own and wouldn’t let them go. Being a product of his environment, the film gave a detailed account of who Desmond Doss was and the events that got him there. He was given every reason to quit, but decided to stand his ground during war, not wanting to take any lives. He was punished, bullied, and ridiculed, but possessed a fear of God that wouldn’t be moved. As he decided to save lives instead of kill, he left a mark in history that everyone can take a page from.
Whether you agree with his decision or not initially, it’s hard not to respect a man with such values. With such a phenomenal talent like Garfield delivering the lines, it makes it even easier to get behind this man even with it being a true story. Garfield portrayed Doss as an innocent fellow who wanted nothing more in the world than peace and happiness. His smile when he came across something he admired would make any woman melt, and inspired the surrounding men to get their act together. When he saw something he wanted, he sat back and waited on the best opportunity to make his move.
His partners on screen had glorious appearances as well. The opposition he faced from all sides was nothing short of daunting, especially from his sergeant, Sergeant Howell (Vince Vaughn), and Captain Glover (Sam Worthington). Vaughn is like a chameleon when it comes to Hollywood roles. While most actors/actresses can be typecast in the same roles, he’s versatile. In such a more serious story about bravery he’s able to bring the necessary dramatic weight to a scene on the battlefield, but is also able to make you laugh hysterically back on base. Worthington on the other hand is full of frustration as he tries to understand Doss’ position, and it makes for a worthy confrontation on screen.
The man behind the camera deserves the most credit for this piece of art currently in discussion. With this being Mel Gibson’s (Braveheart, Apocalypto) fifth time in the director’s chair, it’s upsetting that he’s not directing more films. The man is a genius behind the camera, with a true talent for making you care for the atmosphere and everyone in it. Gibson frames action with such detail that you can’t do anything but duck and dodge as you’re viewing it, as if you’re really there. It’s painful to watch in the best way that’s mind-blowingly realistic from every angle. And with the film being marketed as an action war film, it’s so much deeper within as a dramatic biography. It’s a slow burn to a maximum payoff towards the end, and is a must see if possible.
There were times where you laughed, and times where you gasped for air at the brutality taking place. There were also the other dramatic moments that planted you down in your seat. A majority of parents want the best for their child, and Tom Doss (Hugo Weaving), Desmond’s father, is the same. It was hard seeing how effected he was by his children’s decisions that he was left to cope with. It made every scene towards the end more impactful. Tom just loved his family, but had a horrible way of showing it. Though when he did show it at the dinner table in graphic fashion, it tied the knot on the emotional roller coaster his family was going through. During this time the film provided a 360-degree bubble of emotion and logic that gave everyone a reason to step forward with what they believed in towards their foreseeable future.
There are tons of films that come and go over the years, but it’s not too many that move you. It’s something about a character that puts himself last, and everyone else first, that will always shine in high morals. That’s exactly what Hacksaw Ridge is, and much more. This film asks you to look deep inside yourself to see what’s most important to live your life to the fullest. If we all learned this lesson the fruits of labor would last a lifetime. That’s what Desmond Doss did in his time, leaving a lasting impression for everyone to learn from. And the directing by the legendary Mel Gibson lines it up possibly for the best film of the year.