Hacksaw Ridge

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Stop now…don’t read this review. Go see Hacksaw Ridge!

This is a fantastic movie that has been given some critical praise and award nominations, and I can tell you they are more than warranted. I’m mad at myself that I didn’t see this sooner. Also, I think it is important, like with Hidden Figures, that the public learns these stories about heroes from our past.

Hacksaw Ridge is the story of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector from World War II. He won the Medal of Honor for saving 75 lives at the Battle of Okinawa, all while refusing to carry a weapon, due to his religious beliefs. The first half of the movie was all about his childhood upbringing in rural Virginia. His mother was religious(Seventh-Day Adventist) and his father was a troubled World War I veteran. We also see him meet his eventual wife and make the decision to pursue medicine and eventually signing up for the war. The second half of the film, we witness battle scenes, and his heroic actions.

Mel Gibson does an amazing job directing the best war movie I’ve seen since Saving Private Ryan. Andrew Garfield also turns in a hell of a performance, full of emotion, as Desmond Doss. Vince Vaughn surprise with his role as the Army Sergeant in basic training/battle. He brings some comedic moments, but it isn’t the constant silly comedy you expect from him. Hugo Weaving is also good as Mr. Doss who spends the film dealing with the loss of childhood friends when he was in World War I and now having both of his sons enlisted.

Gibson did a great job basing the film off of the 2004 documentary about Doss. He included many scenes almost word for word the way Doss described them. He also did not shy away from including Christian themes and symbolism. Many scenes reference Doss praying, as well as scenes that make you recall Jesus stigmata, baptism, and even ascension. I personally got chills after witnessing Andrew Garfield finish saving as many people as he could while praying “Lord please help me get one more.” The only twist of irony in the movie for me is that Gibson directs the war scenes so realistically gory and violent, but the movie is about a man who refused to use a weapon.

I really only sought out Hacksaw Ridge due to it’s Oscar nominations, but I am glad I did. What a great film, with a passionate performance by Garfield. Go check it out and let me hear your opinion. Will it win Oscar gold, or has Mel Gibson forever been black listed for his past behavior/comments?

–Tony

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