Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

  • The “speaking from my heart” review:

Before I get all technical, I want talk about Desmond Doss for a sec. I couldn’t help watching him feeling a closeness to a way of thinking that is close to home. I couldn’t help the fact that myself and Doss are almost identical twins when it comes to violence and helping people. In many ways Hacksaw Ridge confirmed a lot for me. Its funny how sometimes the phrase “comfort in numbers” actually rings true. Even though Doss was one man, I felt a sense of  validity after experiencing his unbelievable and unquestionably courageous acts of bravery.

His gospel rang true to me. All too often people like to tag me as “soft”  when considering my stance on war and helping people. Doss and I are mirrored in our thoughts and is that different than the norm? Sure. But ask yourself this? Did he save 75 souls that after the fact could care less of his “softness.”

My point is we need to stop “tagging” people as whatever makes sense to us and throw them in a category jail. We need to start looking at people as exactly what they are: people. Diverse thinking, uniquely made individuals who maybe on their own exhibit an odd piece of the puzzle. But make no mistake about it, they are a piece to a puzzle. Usually an important piece at that.

Bottom line: If you think different than the average, you shouldn’t be ashamed in who you are, the ashamed should be the shamers.

  • The “obligated, technical” review:

After a decade long hiatus and no less amount of controversies, Mel Gibson makes his long-awaited return to the director’s chair and immediately lets his presence felt & relevance known to everyone,his latest is a biographical war drama that depicts the horror of warfare in all its unadulterated glory yet captures it in a fashion that highlights the film’s anti-war themes with clarity.

Hacksaw Ridge tells the story of Desmond Doss, a God-fearing pacifist who enlists in the army to serve as a medic and becomes the first conscientious objector in American history to be awarded the Medal of Honour despite never firing a shot. The plot covers the events that shape up his beliefs, and his service above & beyond the call of duty in the Battle of Okinawa.

Directed by Mel Gibson (best known for Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ & Apocalypto), the film opens with a brief preview of what’s waiting ahead for the viewers before taking a step back to pave the necessary groundwork but once the soldiers are on the battlefield, Gibson unleashes hell on screen with excellent use of his skill set to stage one of the most harrowing depictions of warfare in recent memory.

The technical aspects are ingeniously executed and really assist in enriching the whole experience. Production design team skilfully recreates the required timeline with its period-specific set pieces, Cinematography utilises the camera to great effect and is at its best during the combat sequences. Editing is brilliantly handled & steadily paces the plot but there are few scenes in the first half that it could’ve done without.

Performance wise, the film packs a capable cast in Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Vince Vaughn, Hugo Weaving & Teresa Palmer, with Garfield carrying the entire film on his shoulders. Despite coming off as a creepy nice guy in the first act, Garfield is able to finish things off on a high and his rendition of Desmond Doss may as well be his finest performance to date. Rest of the cast chip in with fine supporting work, with Vaughn getting to have the most fun.

On an overall scale, Hacksaw Ridge is one of the most vicious, violent & unrelenting exhibitions of war on the film canvas that presents its returning filmmaker in no-holds-barred mode and delivers a cinematic experience so raw & visceral that it will have its viewers gasping for breath & hiding for cover amidst all the mayhem & massacre that explodes on the screen in the final hour. One of the best films of 2016 that’s impressive enough to garner a spot amongst the greatest examples of its genre, Hacksaw Ridge is an instant classic that comes very highly recommended.

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3 thoughts on “Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

  1. Danny, I always enjoy reading your posts. As to this movie, I took myself to the theater to see it. (weird, but I’ve always been interested in historical war movies) Was so moved by what one man holding strong to his beliefs & uniqueness could accomplish in spite of those around him. Whether viewed as “strong” or “soft” in our convictions & beliefs, without remaining true to ourselves, little else matters.

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