Hacksaw Ridge Review
Director: Mel Gibson.
Oscar winning director, Mel Gibson returns to the helm after a long ten years of not being behind a camera, Apocalypto being his last film back in 2006. Maybe due to too much shaky cam? No! Sorry. That was a cheap shot and I'm actually a massive fan of Gibson, he's still very much one of my favourites and I know he can take a joke.
Gibson is one of the few directors who can boast a long runtime and it not be a warning off-putter, though not as long as Braveheart, it's up there with this longest films with a runtime of 139mins, but you certainly don't notice it.
The film is based on the legendary WWII army medic, Pfc. Desmond Doss who enlisted but with an absolutely objection to firing a single bullet, not just during the war zone but during training also, who went on to serve regardless and saved of life's of approximately 75 soldiers under fire.
The film is in two parts. Firstly the background on Doss, his family, his love and the eventual training where he becomes branded a conscientious objector, bringing him a world of hurt and abuse from his fellow regiment and the military powers. It has to be mentioned, during this part Hugo Weaving gives an incredible performance as his drunken father clearly combating PTSD.
The second part of the film is the obvious, bloody assault on Hacksaw Ridge. The carnage of unforgiving violence that's gruesome yet captivating to watch. The brutal war scenes are loaded with exaggerated action for cinematographic purposes but is superbly executed with building tension and often gory outcomes.
Andrew Garfield takes the lead role of Pfc. Doss and does an amazing job. I can only believe he done the hero justice because the son was brought to tears during a screening. The supporting cast, including names Sam Worthington, Teresa Palmer and Luke Bracey all give good strong performances. And apologies to Vince Vaughn because he's an actor I find difficult to take seriously. But he fills the Sargent's boots quite well, nearly bursting a blood vessel bellowing humorous insults at his subordinates. Unfortunately, scenes like that will always be compared to R. Lee Ermey's Sgt. Hartman in Full Metal Jacket, but Vaughn does an amazing job.
Gibson' direction, like most of his films, is quite symbolic with some stunning visual imagery. He doesn't shy away from the opposing side either. The war sequences are some of the best captured, striking a realism that Saving Private Ryan got respected for.
Rupert Gregson-Williams score replaces John Debney's rejected score, after he replaced the late James Horner. Gregson-Williams actually does a good score in honour of Horner, mimicking his style to a degree, just listening to "Okinawa Battlefield" has echoes of Horner.
Though the number of people saved are not wholly accurate, to say 75 people is actually an understatement, himself saying 50 on that particular bloody night, witnesses claim it to be 100, which could be a result of him treating 50 men up on the escarpment who made their own way back to camp. It's said that during his three week tour he rescued a number close to 300 souls.
Certainly succeeds in placing Desmond Doss in eternity, being an incredible, moving tribute to the hero about courage and belief to stand alone not just against adversity but against the common command of war. A remarkable story about an even more remarkable man.
Running Time: 9
The Cast: 9
Job Description: 10
The Extra Bonus Point: 10 for being an amazing tribute not just to Desmond Doss, but to all conscientious collaborators.
Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Yes!