Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Film Review: "Hacksaw Ridge" (2016).

"One of the greatest heroes in America history never fired a bullet."
Believe or not, this is the true story of Hacksaw Ridge. This biographical war film directed by Mel Gibson and written by Andrew Knight and Robert Schenkkan. The film tells the true story of WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, who refused to kill people and becomes the first Conscientious Objector in American history to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

According to Variety, the film remained in development hell for 14 years, numerous producers had attempted to bring Doss' story to the screen. The project was finally gathered steam when it was conceived by screenwriter and producer Gregory Crosby in 2001. After the rights were acquired by Mechanic from Walden Media, Mel Gibson was approached to help the directors chair due to his unique blend of violence and faith with The Passion of the Christ (2004). This is the first film directed by Mel Gibson in a decade, since Apocalypto (2006)and marks a departure from his previous films, such as Apocalypto and Braveheart (1995), in which the protagonists acted violently. Ironically, like Braveheart, Gibson turned it down twice but ultimately accepted in November 2014. That same also saw Andrew Garfield confirmed to play the leading role of Desmond Doss. By October 2015, the rest of the cast were all confirmed. In an age where cinema is bombarded with big blockbuster superhero tentpole films, the one aspect that appealed to Gibson was that it contained a "real" superhero without spandex. Garfield had high regards for Doss and venerated him for his act of bravery hailing him as a "wonderful symbol of embodying the idea of live and let live no matter what your ideology is, no matter what your value system is, just to allow other people to be who they are and allow yourself to be who you are." He found the idea of playing a real superhero (as compared to playing Spider-Man) much more inspiring. Principal photography began in late September 2015 and took place in various locations around New South Wales, including Sydney Olympic Park, and concluded in December 2015, lasting 105 days.

The film stars Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Hugo Weaving, Ryan Corr, Teresa Palmer, Richard Pyros and Rachel Griffiths. The cast all gave spectacular performances and pulled their own weight despite the stellar list. Garfield gave a knockout performance, to the point where he "got" Desmond Doss, according to Doss' son. Vaughn, Worthington and Bracey gave surprisingly solid performances.

Hacksaw Ridge is by no means a bad effort in the war genre, since Gibson has made himself into a more than questionable director in recent years, but it deserves an Oscar of some sort. Gibson threw his whole heart into the film. No one could have made this film with more conviction and honest errors as Gibson did. In the end, the film is extremely visceral, and emotionally powerful.

Simon says Hacksaw Ridge receives:

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