Movie Review: Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Updated on December 9, 2016

Next time Mel Gibson turns down a script twice, do whatever you have to do MAKE him take it on the third try, because the first time this happened resulted in a pretty good flick called Braveheart. The second time, Hacksaw Ridge, turns out to be pretty much on par.

Hacksaw Ridge is brought to you by a director who may or may not have gone completely insane, whose name is so rarely uttered these days that he has basically become Hollywood's equivalent of Lord Voldemort. Joining him are renowned actors such as Andrew Garfield, our previous Spider-man; Vince Vaughn, your clichéd go-to guy for uninspiring comic relief who has the potential to single-handedly derail the entire movie; Sam Worthington, that Avatar dude that Hollywood attempted to force-feed us a few years back; Luke Bracey and Teresa Palmer, bundle pack from 2015's so-forgettable-I've-already-forgotton Point Break remake; and Hugo Weaving, who is always entertaining and definitely needs to be in more movies.

And what do you know? All of them were brilliant in this movie, which, by the way, is a modern war film instant classic. So for a quick recap. Hacksaw Ridge is based on the true story of Desmond Doss, a WWII American medic who refused to carry any weapon and ended up rescuing at least 75 fellow soldiers. For a story that begs Oscar favors, I am shocked that this movie took so long to manifest. But judging from the final product, the only real pity is that the real Desmond Doss is no longer around to give his own opinion.

If you manage to find the very few negative criticisms towards the movie, most of them would be diverted to two issues: over-preaching and glorifying violence. Yet the truth is such issues are likely raised by those who only watched the movie (if at all) to look for these two factors, because it's the wacko director from The Passion of the Christ taking on a source material that's both religious and violent.

As a non-Christian and frankly non-religious person, I am happy to report that the message is as inspiring as it is resounding, and that's what I love the most about Hacksaw Ridge. I don't have to believe in Christianity to appreciate his devotion to his faith, because at its core, it's a story about sticking to what you believe in, and it's relatable to all of us. I don't have to be an American to admire his courage and incredible dedication because in the end, it's about putting the value of life above all else, also relatable to all of us.

Perhaps a religious person or someone otherwise different from me will receive a totally different message from the movie, and that's great, that's why it's such a smart way to tell the story. Instead of preaching us the ideology of our hero, which could have gone very wrong because it is an odd one, the movie treats us as intelligent individuals that (hopefully) we are, and trust us to translate it into something positive.

Now about the violence. This movie has a very clear-cut first half and second half, with the former depicting his family relationship, his forming of faith, a whimsical love story and his alienation and suffering at the camp. The second half arrives with a bang, quite literally, and from that point on it's brutality nothing held back. There will be blood, there will be broken limbs, there will be intestines and rats, and corpses, and rats eating corpses, you name it!

That being said, should it have been otherwise? Would it have been a better story if Doss rescued one more, and one more, and one more amidst rainbow and tulips? Heck no! Given the subject matter, the violence depicted in the movie is fairly appropriate. War is bloody and violent. This happened, and it wasn't pretty, and it would be injustice to Doss's legacy if the story was tamed. There is no glorification, on the contrary, it looks horrifying.

Should we judge a directors' directing ability by how well he brings out the talents of his actors, then Mel Gibson is a strong contender for Best Director this year. Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, all of them brought their A-game and delivered the best performances of their careers. Who'd have thought? Sam Worthington? First Jai Courtney in Suicide Squad now this? We really shouldn't be too quick to judge.

But one person stole the show among this stellar ensemble for me, and it was Hugo Weaving playing Doss's father, a traumatized, alcoholic, pessimistic, abusive but at the same time loving father. It's as complicated a personality as you can get, and despite his many flaws, I find myself sympathizing with him even though he's frequently on the opposite side of our hero. Once again, dear Hollywood, more Hugo Weaving in...everything! Pretty please?

Since this is a review, I feel somewhat obligated to nitpick some negativity out of Hecksaw Ridge, but the truth is I can't think of any. However I cannot, in good conscience, give it a perfect score, merely on the basis that my 10/10s are going to be jealously preserved for the special few, and perhaps because the movie's ending is by no means any surprise (it's a true story, after all), my inner exclamation was limited to "what a great story" and "what a great man", but not quite up to the "stunned from the moviemaking perspective" sensation that I received from the likes of Birdman or The Revenant.

Overall, it's a fantastic movie recommended to everybody on the planet (or the slightly less who get to read this). Final score: 9/10.

What do you think of Hacksaw Ridge?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)