If you can’t forgive Mel Gibson and didn’t see this movie. I completely understand. I have forgiven him because the events happened around 10 years ago and he’s given a lot to charities that help the people that he said such demeaning things to. It was a no brainer for me to see this film, but I get why some didn’t see it. If you’re on the fence about this film, I would recommend it.
Hacksaw Ridge is about a guy named Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) as he’s trying to serve his country as a medic. The only difference is that he’s against killing. He feels it violates his religion and he refuses to pick up a gun which results in many problems at basic training. It’s a struggle to follow his faith or to conform to fit in. He also has a rule that he can’t work on Saturday as it’s his Sabbath which ends up being another piece in the puzzle later in the film.
Andrew Garfield definitely delivers his career best performance in this film. He’s a joy to watch on screen and we’re rooting for him the entire time. There’s a few moments when he’s been acting a certain way and then we actually see the backstory. The payoff for these moments is incredible. He never felt like he’s faking anything and he became Desmond Doss. I loved the way that he connected with his army mates as he began to build their trust and as they began to respect him. I was floored by the way that he carried himself and it was just a joy to watch him.
Vince Vaugh also had a great performance as Sergeant Howell. I don’t think I’d ever take him seriously, but he really works as this role. He’s scary and hilarious all in the same breath. I was impressed with his and Teresa Palmer who plays Dorothy Schutte. She’s always supportive of Desmond and I think it adds to their chemistry. They just feel real. Although, that might be because Garfield is so awkward and cheesy. I just liked seeing both of them on screen.
I loved the visuals in this film. They were gruesome, but I think they painted the trench warfare correctly. It’s hard to show how awful these battles were unless you see all of the carnage. I thought Gibson showed it very well and I was glad that these battles weren’t romanticized as time goes on. I think we needed to see how devastating some of the images were around this time and it makes sense why so many soldiers developed PTSD.
My only problem was that it was a little heavy handed with the faith. I understand and enjoyed most of it, but I think it took a little bit of the heroism away from Doss. I would’ve like a touch less of it and made it about how his faith shaped him and not how it was God’s doing that this man did everything. That balance is hard to achieve, but I think Gibson could’ve pulled it off.
Overall, I think this was a great war story that was forgotten. I’m glad that Gibson made this film because it shows a lot of people the true battles of war and how one man helped so many people. I hope that more people see this movie and more people forgive Mel Gibson and support him in future projects. I think he’s a great director and has much more in store for us. I’m glad that he let Andrew Garfield have one of the best performances of his career as well.