There is a feeling that you get when you’re watching a great film. This is one
of them. It fights against the conventional war film in a way that doesn’t
condemn its viewers to any particular political view. It simply shows one
man’s belief, which is contrasted deeply with those around him. Despite
this, his faith and conviction are unwavering. This is how war movies
should be done.
Mel Gibson returns to directing with a new sense of style that has proved
again, that he can make damn good films despite their sometimes brutal
and graphic images. Andrew Garfield was made for this role; he depicts
Desmond Doss triumphantly and gives one heck of a performance. Doss
was a real war hero that was the first person to receive the Medal of
Honour without ever holding a rifle.
The first part of the film depicts Desmond in his ordinary Virginian
existence in some small town. He grows up with an abusive, alcoholic
father who seems to suffer from the toils of war himself. We are to
assume that for these reasons, and religious ones, that Desmond isn’t
too fond of violence. One day he meets Dorothy (Teresa Palmer) who
works at the hospital. He is bewildered and sets about winning her
heart over with lots of ‘so bad they’re funny’ jokes and succeeds. His
brother signs up for the war and despite his father’s wishes, he does
too and tells Dorothy who insists he asks her to marry him. Then we
have ripped away from the towns sunshine and thrown into the awful
hell on earth that was Okinawa.
It is here that Desmond is finally allowed to truly shine, even though
we believed in him the whole time. He becomes the most valuable
asset for the Americans as he wades through the battle-torn landscape
in search of, ‘one more’ wounded soldier. Even when all of his other
companions have already retreated back over the ridge, he stays and
plods on as his own body deteriorates from exhaustion.
Despite being a film about a medic, Hacksaw Ridge has probably
some of the best action scenes of all time. In true Gibson fashion,
the scenes are painted in red; with guts, limbs and maggots all
displayed in horrific detail. This gives a depiction of war so real,
it is reminiscent of the D-Day landing scenes in Saving Private Ryan.
We are glad when the troops are finally sent home victorious, so we
can all let out a deep breath of relief. This is simply an experience
worth seeing. It will make you laugh, gasp and cry. This is a reminder
that no one deserves to witness the horrors of war.