Hacksaw Ridge – 2016 – English
Film directed in 2016 by Mel Gibson, and starring Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Hugo Weaving, Vince Vaughn, Teresa Palmer, Luke Bracey, Rachel Griffiths, Richard Roxburgh, Matt Nable, Nathaniel Buzolic, Ryan Corr, Goran D. Kleut, Firass Dirani, Milo Gibson, Ben O’Toole, Richard Pyros, Robert Morgan, Dennis Kreusler, Michael Sheasby, Ben Mingay, Damien Thomlinson, Nico Cortez, Darcy Bryce, Roman Guerriero, Thomas Unger…
Synopsis: It tells the story of Desmond Doss, a young military doctor who participated in the bloody battle of Okinawa in the Pacific during World War II, and became the first conscientious objector in American history to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. . Doss wanted to serve his country, but since childhood he had made a promise to himself: never pick up a gun.
Review: Hacksaw Ridge is not a film for the feint-hearted. Right away the opening scenes portray the horror of war, and the emotional journey is only beginning as the audience is led through the story of war-hero Desmond Doss. One of the great feats of storytelling from Mel Gibson (director) and Andrew Garfield (leading role, Desmond Doss) is to lead the audience along Doss’ journey with a feeling of having experienced the journey as Doss, and experiencing the wide range of emotions endured by this heroic character along his journey.
Neither war itself nor violence are glorified in the film, yet they also not derided. The elements of conflict that draw the storyteller – the heroism of overcoming adversity, the bonding of soldiers, and the brave resolve on which soldiers must rely to perform their duty amidst such chaos and terror – these elements are all present, but they placed alongside the horror, the madness and the terror of war, and used to draw in the audience for Doss’ journey. The lasting psychological impact for those who survive conflict is well told by Hugo Weaving’s portrayal of Doss’ father, whose lines could serve as a mouthpiece for many veterans.
The supporting roles add depth, with both script and performance making very few, if any, of the supporting characters two dimensional. Vince Vaughn’s excellent turn as Doss’ training sergeant provides both humour and pathos to bring laughs and pause- for-thought at well scripted points of the tale, allowing the audience to gather their breath.
By the end of the film, audience members will leave the cinema feeling tired, worn out by having experienced Doss’ journey of hope, innocence, love, confusion, anger, faith, and courage. Hacksaw Ridge is in no way a popcorn-lazy-Sunday-afternoon film; it is a journey.