Film Review: Hacksaw Ridge

“Most Of These Men Don’t Believe The Same Way You Do, But They Believe So Much In How Much You Believe…”

Eleven years after the non-stop intensity of Apocalypto, everyone’s favourite crazy American Aussie returns to directorial duty with Hacksaw Ridge, a similarly profound and incredibly violent tale focusing on the true events of The Battle of Okinawa in the early months of 1945 and specifically upon the actions of Desmond Doss, the only conscientious objector to ever receive the Medal of Honour for his services during the taking of the titular Hacksaw Ridge, a cliff face of the Maeda Escarpment surrounded by Japanese forces. Taking on the challenge of a non-fiction wartime miracle, Mel Gibson’s latest suffers from a fundamental flaw of being a movie of two halves, with the first half being primarily a cheesy, eye-gouging hour of character development which evokes everything from Forest Gump to Full Metal Jacket and a second half which can only be regarded as a simply stunning visualisation of the madness of war and one which ranks up there with the best there is to offer in regards to on-screen depictions of the Second World War.

In the lead role as Desmond Doss, Andrew Garfield attempts to shows off his best Virginian accent amidst a performance which reeks of similarity to his character in Martin Scorsese’s Silence in terms of his seemingly unbreakable penchant for sticking to his faith, whilst the rather formulaic and obvious narrative twists doesn’t exactly give much meat to any other character throughout the course of the movie, particularly Teresa Palmer who is wasted as Doss’ wife, Dorothy, who seems to be key in the first half of the movie but then disappears into the abyss of two-dimensional nothingness come the second act. Star of the show however is a joint title for both Hugo Weaving and Vince Vaughn, with the latter channelling his meanest R. Lee Ermey and provoking a rafter of laughs from the audience during a superb Drill Sergeant scene which of course harks back to Full Metal Jacket, a film which similarly suffers from a superb first act but then loses steam after the half way mark. After the brilliance of Apocalypto, Hacksaw Ridge does seem like a fall back into second gear, with Gibson’s latest more of a crowd-pleasing romp in contrast to his other work yet for the time it was on screen, it was a solid and overly violent roller-coaster. Well, just in its’ second act.

Overall Score: 7/10

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Posted on 24/01/2017, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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