Hacksaw Ridge: A Review

Hacksaw Ridge: A Review

Janelle Hart, Staff Writer

This weekend, I went to see this movie not once, but twice in theaters. How fitting for Veteran’s Day. I’m usually not the kind of person who likes to spend more than they need to on overpriced snacks and movie tickets, but this extraordinary film was a brilliant exception. One of the best movies I’ve ever seen.

Just a little background for you: Hacksaw Ridge is based on the true story of a soldier named Desmond Doss who faced many obstacles as he refused to use a gun even though he enlisted in the U.S. army during WWII. Growing up, Doss lived in a house with his mother, father (a veteran of WWI) and brother. As his father battled PTSD, he didn’t have the best home life or schooling, but managed to enlist, as the many men of his town were motivated to do as well. And though he wasn’t the biggest or baddest of his troop, he ended up saving 75 lives as a medic for the U.S. military in the Battle of Okinawa. He went on to receive the Medal of Honor, being the first and only conscientious objector of all time to earn the award.

Directed by the infamous Mel Gibson, this movie is every genre you can think of all rolled into one fantastic film. It has a love interest, features a rough home life, is increasingly suspenseful, full of action and at times, its goriness is horrifying. This universal aspect is a main reason for its immediate success, as well as the truth of the inspiring underdog story. It emphasizes the idea that history tends to skip over the true heroes of America – the ones who usually never get the spotlight, but also create the largest impact. The fact that Doss is not someone you see in a textbook makes his story more compelling and interesting to the audience. It’s basically Saving Private Ryan with better picture.

Speaking of, probably the best feature of the movie is the unbelievably realistic picture. So vividly gratifying, at times (like the gory parts I mentioned earlier) you’ll wish it were more blurry. The cameras portray each scene in a unique way and use the perfect angles to make the visuals beautiful. Especially when dealing with battle settings and just tons of extras and action, Gibson was wonderful in getting every detail in the right place to be both historically accurate and stunningly choreographed. If it doesn’t win an Oscar for best picture, consider myself a lottery winner.

But let’s be honest here, you can’t expect the Oscars to stop there. Andrew Garfield, playing Desmond Doss in the film, had his best performance ever. Not only did he look the part, but his accent and awkward charm were perfectly aligned with the character he was to portray. The makers of this movie couldn’t have picked a better actor for this role. I am truly in awe by the way in which he interacted with the other characters and executed his dialogue. Not to mention, his onscreen father, played by Hugo Weaving, had a memorable performance, as well as crowd favorite Vince Vaughn. Together, they were an incredible cast to experience an uplifting event with.

Wait! I know I said a lot of cool stuff about this movie and you’re ready to begin watching, but before you start, make sure you can handle it. And I don’t mean its awesomeness. I mean its violence and bloodiness. Even though I conclude with high praise for this film, it doesn’t mean it’s the right movie for everyone. Being rated R, it contains a lot of scenes with blood and medical parts that some may be uncomfortable watching. Therefore, if you’re not into that type of jazz, I suggest you watch the beginning of the movie and then skip to the very end. Either way, you must see some part of this movie. Hacksaw Ridge is something even the most frequent fainters will not want to miss. See it in theaters now.