By Shelby Fielding (Lubbock, Texas, US)
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Hacksaw Ridge: Mel Gibson is Back with a Truly Gripping War Drama

Hacksaw Ridge is Mel Gibson’s return to the director’s chair and stars Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, Teresa Palmer, and Hugo Weaving. This film tells the story of a young man with strong Christian beliefs on the fact that he does not kill and he does not touch guns. After he meets the girl of his dreams he follows in his family’s footsteps and joins the Army as a medic. He then goes through an emotionally driven journey through the harsh realities of war, and how the army views people who favor non-violence. This film is a brilliantly directed film filled with horrifying war scenes along with a near perfect script that flushes out almost every character thoroughly and fulfills them with great character arcs through this inspiring narrative driven by an Oscar worthy performance from Andrew Garfield.

I was highly anticipating this film because of Mel Gibson’s past directed films. Films such as Braveheart, The Passion of Christ, and the highly underrated film called Apocalypto. This film does not disappoint in the least. I was truly inspired by Desmond Doss and his heroic acts he did in life along with his strong commitment to his faith. This man was truly determined to not let anything break his faith, and Andrew Garfield does a brilliant job of encompassing the raw emotions of this man. This is truly the best performance of his career. I felt his accent was very well done, and I’m hoping he can keep this momentum rolling in future films. Vince Vaughn was amazing in this film, and gave me a déjà vu feel of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman from Full Metal Jacket. Vince Vaughn delivers this hilarious introduction to his character by intentionally roasting these new privates. He also delivers a great dramatic performance as well.

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Teresa Palmer gives the best performance of her career by being the love interest for Private Doss. Sam Worthington does a really good job as well, but my favorite performance besides Andrew Garfield’s was that of Hugo Weaving. Hugo Weaving plays Desmond Doss father and does an excellent job of combining that emotional narrative with his incredible character arc that was awesome to watch. I would not be against him winning an Oscar for best supporting actor. I would like to point out that so far I wouldn’t mind seeing 2 Oscar nominations for this film, and I still have much to talk about.

The filmmaking is done incredibly well. Mel Gibson uses a lot of a long wide shots that relies on purely dialogue to help flush out these characters, which is a rare instance for movies today and it was awesome to watch. The cinematography is done incredibly well with some great shots that show the time period of this film as well as the environment that reflects this incredibly inspiring true story. As far as the war scenes go, I haven’t seen a more impactful and disturbing filming of war since Saving Private Ryan. I would say the war scenes in this film are more disturbing than the war scenes in Saving Private Ryan. Some may disagree but hey it’s my opinion and not theirs. The editing in this film is also done brilliantly, as not an ounce of tension is lost in any point of the film. This film builds to a giant crescendo of emotion that was truly breathtaking to watch. The direction is incredibly done, there are two Oscar worthy performances, and this film provides a truly terrifying look at war along with the beautifully inspirational story of Desmond Doss.

The flaws of this film are almost non-existent. It is not a perfect film, but I only have one flaw in the film and it more of a nitpick than anything else. As I would have loved to see the character arcs of third act done in the film and not in the credits after the film that shows the life Desmond Doss and him telling a story from the film. Many have found flaws surrounding the narrative and that it transitions from a narrative focused on a character whose beliefs revolve around peace to a narrative relying on violence to help make the narrative amazing. I completely disagree with this, because I felt the violence provided a character arc and difference on viewpoint on how Desmond approaches the battlefield and how his fellow soldiers approached the battlefield which not only flushed out the narrative, but the characters as well.

Hacksaw Ridge is a triumphant return to the director’s chair for Mel Gibson. This film is Oscar worthy for best picture, best director, best actor in a leading role, and best actor in a supporting film. I was blown away by this film, and it is certainly a movie I will wait in a line for to get on Blu-ray. This film was an incredible theatre experience and I’m going to give Hacksaw Ridge an A+. What did you think of Hacksaw Ridge? What’s your favorite Mel Gibson movie? Is he a better director or actor? Let me know down in the comments below and as always have a blessed day.

Rating: 5/5

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