HACKSAW RIDGE is the extraordinary true story of Desmond Doss [Andrew Garfield] who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun. He was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon, as he believed that while the war was justified, killing was nevertheless wrong. As an army medic, he single-handedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers and was wounded by a grenade and hit by snipers. Doss was the first conscientious objector awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
What We Thought:
Hacksaw Ridge is a mix bag for me. I loved the war parts and thought the battles scenes were realistically brutal. I also thought a lot of the story was unnecessary and very Hollywood-ized.
I saw so purpose to having the love story between Andrew Garfield and Teresa Palmer in the movie. Sure it’s based on a true story, but it wasn’t necessary. Garfield’s family drama and his anti-killing/violence belief was plenty enough to give him credibility to be the film’s protagonist. You watched the movie to witness this soldier in a battle who wasn’t willing to even hold a gun never mind kill an enemy soldier. You didn’t need the woman at hold cliché we’ve seen many times before. It felt tacked on for the sake of having a love story.
That being said, once the film got to Japan and what they called Hacksaw Ridge, I quite liked it. The battle was shot realistically and you saw how brutal war is. Men you saw in boot camp get mowed down along with the enemy. There’s guns and flame throwers and grenades. You even see beheadings. To repeat the word yet again, it’s brutal.
I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know the story before seeing the film because I do like history and war stories. I’m sure some of it was amplified to make it more dramatic although he was officially credited with saving many soldiers and getting an award. Garfield is good in the role and fits the character’s skinny, not what you expect a soldier to look like physique.
Mel Gibson is a fantastic director and I’m happy he’s working again. I wanted to love Hacksaw Ridge and put in my top 10 and wish it luck in awards season. Unfortunately I’m 50/50 on it. Part of me really liked it, part of me wish the first half wasn’t in it. People are hyping Vince Vaughn in his role, but Best Supporting Actor is usually a highly fought category and I don’t see Vaughn getting nominated. I wish it was nothing, but the war scenes, but it’s still…
Cast & Crew:
- Andrew Garfield
- Teresa Palmer
- Vince Vaughn
- Sam Worthington
- Director Mel Gibson
Recommended If You Like:
- We Were Soldiers
- Saving Private Ryan
- War Movies