Hacksaw Ridge – Review

R | 2h 19min | Drama, History, War
Review – Matt Mungle

Synopsis: WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.

Review: I am not a fan of war movies so I went into HACKSAW RIDGE with very little excitement or anticipation. I was intrigued by the story and curious how Director Mel Gibson would tackle the subject matter. He could have taken it several different routes chasing random agendas. Luckily he told the story against a gritty backdrop of layered conflict and allowed the character to shine. It looks as good as any war film ever made without being strictly a war film.

Many may wonder why a man who refused to hold a gun or take a life would enlist in the military and go off to war. This question comes up often through out the film. Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) is a young man who feels called to be a medic and help save lives. The film follows him through his early days as well as boot camp and the final battle of Okinawa.

Based on a true story the movie shines a light on the strong convictions of the real Doss. He is not easily swayed and even when faced with court marshaling refuses to break his vow. Everyone from his drill sergeant (Vince Vaughn) to fellow platoon mates try and break him down. It is up t0 Doss to prove himself in the midst of all the ridicule.

For fans of military conflicts this one is explosive and detailed. The war violence and intensity is unequaled. Plus this was not one 15 minute scene of action and the rest shot on the sidelines. The last half of the film is full impact engagement and you feel as if you lived through it afterwards. Gibson makes sure that every once of energy is expended. It would have been easy to take the safe way out and only focus on Doss’ convictions. But like the real Desmond, Gibson held fast to his passion and commitment to deliver a powerful film. And he does.

HACKSAW RIDGE is rated R for intense prolonged realistically graphic sequences of war violence including grisly bloody images. It is not for the squeamish or timid. The story is moving and encouraging, and moving but it is set against the backdrop of war; and it is brutal. I give it 4 out of 5 body drops. I am still not a fan of war films but this one is certainly impressive. Mainly for the character of Doss and his incredible story.

Possible award wins? Although it deserves every nomination it gets I do not see this one walking away with any of the main category wins. Special effects and makeup for sure. But the other categories are just too deep this year.