"But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked."
Hacksaw Ridge is the true story of Desmond Doss, a combat medic who was also a conscientious objector to World War II. The film is directed by Mel Gibson who returns to direct after 10 years. Andrew Garfield portrays the hero Desmond Doss in his journey of faith and strong will in the face of a great war and personal adversity. Mel Gibson has gone on record saying that Hacksaw Ridge is not a conventional war film but a film about love.
The film opens with a look back at Desmond's childhood. His upbringing with his brother and the relationship with his mother and his father who was also a war veteran. Hugo Weaving played Desmond's father and gives an amazing performance with such nuance that even though the man he is portraying is not a good man there is something broken about him. Weaving could easily have made the character unlikable, but he chose to understand where the man was coming from. How war changes a man, breaks him and makes him cold. A sure Oscar contender for Best Supporting Actor. Hugo Weaving really captures the PTSD most soldiers suffer from living through and experiencing war. PTSD in Hacksaw Ridge is a highlight that Mel Gibson wanted to portray as accurate as possible and shine a light onto what soldiers deal with in and after war.
After the reboot of the Amazing Spider Man franchise, Andrew Garfield left the superhero genre and pursued more serious work, nabbing a role in 99 Homes with Michael Shannon. Next on his list was Hacksaw Ridge and he did not disappoint. From the moment we get Andrew's portrayal of Desmond Doss he exudes a certain charisma and light that the real Desmond Doss had. Vince Vaughn and Luke Bracey were good counterparts to Andrew Garfield's Doss. Bracey plays soldier Smitty Ryker training alongside Desmond Doss while Vaughn plays Sgt. Howell, the man in charge of training Doss and Sam Worthington as Captain Glover. The entire cast gives great performances, Teresa Palmer plays Dorothy Doss, Desmond Doss' wife. Overall, each performance adds and builds upon to the story, making you care about each character, from lead role to even the smallest role.
Mel Gibson really captures the pitfalls of war and also captures the spirit and strength of one's faith and conviction. After a 10 year hiatus, Mel returns with an impact, bringing a period piece, a war film, film of faith, and a true story. Hacksaw Ridge is getting Oscar buzz early in 2016, it is unclear if Gibson will be nominated for Best Director but he should be in the running. Garfield on the other hand is already being talked about as a top contender for Best Actor. Time will tell with Oscar season taking off and many other films yet to be released. One thing is for sure, Mel Gibson is BACK!
Hacksaw Ridge earns an A, and stars Andrew Garfield, Teresa Palmer, Sam Worthington, Vince, Vaughn, Luke Bracey and Hugo Weaving.