The 2016 WW2 action movie was written by Andrew Knight and Robert Schenkkan and directed by Mel Gibson. It’s the real life story of Desmond Doss ( Andrew Garfield ), a man volunteering to serve in WW2, only he refuses to hold a weapon, by any means necessary.
Desmond is sort of a girl next door only in a guy sense. He grew up on a farm to well-meaning parents Bertha ( Rachel Griffiths ) and Tom ( Hugo Weaving ), and after meeting a young lady his age, Dorothy ( Teresa Palmer ) the two follow the yellow brick road and get engaged. At the same time, holding a personal vendetta against the Japs for attacking American soil, he decides to voluntarily enroll in the US military as a medic. This segment takes about 20-25 minutes.
Next up, boot camp! You’re probably thinking “I’ve seen Full Metal Jacket, so what’s the point of this?” Well, despite it’s lack of R. Lee Ermey and Vincent D’Onofrio, it does hold it’s own. Whereas FMJ didn’t properly focus on one character, Hacksaw Ridge focused on Desmond, using the other character to display the cold world around him.
Also, instead of R. Lee Ermey, it’s Vince Vaughn. Who’s….. surprising in his role. Everything works just fine, until they’re supposed to learn their way around firearms. Desmond refusing to even pick up a weapon, even if he knows he won’t fire it in battle, creating a black hole of negativity towards him from most of his comrades. Eventually, he pulls through, and before you know it, he’s in Okinawa!
Say what you want about him, but here Gibson displays just how good of an action-director he is. The combat scenes really are on par, if not better than Saving Private Ryan. Only in this film, we already care about Desmond, whereas we just met Tom Hanks and co.
Overall, Hacksaw Ridge was a prime and rare example of how good a modern day war movie can be. I have to give exceptional applause to both Andrew Garfield and bizarrly Vince Vaughn, the later of which I never could have seen in any sort of serious role. Whereas Garfield I considered a good actor, though until now never gave out a performance strong enough to turn me over. And yes, I’m counting a film I otherwise consider great, i.e. The Social Network.
If you’re until great action films, that also deal with a moral dilemma and great acting, then you should definately catch this on your next trip to Netflix. 8.5/10.
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