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Hacksaw Ridge uses a real-life pacifist's legacy to lay the groundwork for a gripping wartime tribute to faith, valor, and the courage of remaining true to one's convictions.
All Critics (258)
| Top Critics (47)
| Fresh (221)
| Rotten (37)
Hacksaw Ridge is an old-fashioned war film, melded with a kind of new-fashioned explicitly violent drama.
Gibson has made a movie that's nearly pathological in its love of violence-but he nonetheless counterbalances its amoral pleasures with an understanding of the psychological devastation that war wreaks.
War is hell, but Hacksaw Ridge sacrifices that truth in favour of something far more insincere.
The battle scenes in "Hacksaw Ridge" are among the most violent captured on film - and also the most urgent.
Hacksaw Ridge is being touted as Gibson's comeback. Is it also an atonement? What's clear is that Gibson has made a film about family, faith, love and forgiveness all put to the test in an arena of violent conflict - a movie you don't want to miss.
If the film's director were anyone but Gibson, a fixture on or even atop Hollywood's enemies list, it would be expecting several Oscar nominations.
Hacksaw Ridge will not be for everyone. However, the genuinely surprising gear-shift at Okinawa is a memorable feat of filmmaking.
HACKSAW RIDGE will have a broad appeal to most audience goers, those who love a classic Hollywood romance and uniformed men will love the craftsmanship put into the period.
Hacksaw Ridge is more about what happens on the battlefield than off, and for that -- and the fact it brings this man's incredible story to light -- it deserves to be seen.
Andrew Garfield is breathtaking.
As a directorial comeback vehicle for Mel Gibson, this is well worth the decade long wait following the nihilistic mayhem of Apocalypto.
For its flaws, it's almost therapeutic. For Mel that is.
Somewhat torn about this. The directing, look and acting is top-notch, no doubt about it. Especially the huge battle scenes are impressive, disgusting and engaging, almost rivaling Saving Private Ryan's. The beginning does take its time introducing our protagonist and his early life. His ultimate engagement is unbelievable and the definition of a hero. While you feel some parts may be a bit exaggerated, the actual quotes the movie ends with prove many details right. On the other side, the film is neither particularly subtle about Doss' belief nor in making monsters out of the enemy. The final taking of Hacksaw Ridge is portrayed rather questionably. Still, Doss' unimaginable heroism is a story worth telling.
Far too Mel Gibson for me. You're either going to like his style of directing or you aren't. I'm the latter.
Mel Gibson indulges in his biggest obsessions as a filmmaker and creates a magnificent film that couldn't have been made by anyone else. Full review on filmotrope. com
It's hard to believe that Apocalypto in 2006 was the last time Mel Gibson was behind the camera. I suppose 10 years in movie-making exile is where antisemitic rants gets you in Hollywood. That aside, it's a pleasure to see Gibson directing again as he often delivers big, entertaining spectacles and his latest certainly falls into line with that.
Plot: The true story of private Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield) who joins the army during WWII but refuses to bear arms due to being a conscientious objector. At the battle of Okinawa, Doss serves as a medic, saving numerous lives and becomes the first man in history to win a Medal of Honor without ever firing a gun.
If you consider the material of Hacksaw Ridge, you might notice that's it ripe material for Mel Gibson and his personal beliefs. As a man who has
been very outspoken (a bit too much) on his Christian values, this film seems like the perfect vehicle for him to channel these beliefs. Faith and religion course throughout this and, as much as you can may want to overlook it, it just won't let you. This is a film about a saviour and it can't help but bombard you with religious rhetoric and imagery. In the end, you could ask where God is in all this bloodshed and mayhem but that might be a tad too philosophical for what Gibson is going for here.
Sadly, that's what's missing from Hacksaw Ridge; Its jingoism feels out of touch and I couldn't help but wonder what, say, Terrence Malick might have done with the material. If you consider Malick's The Thin Red Line, for example, you'll find a philosophical depth that's lacking from Gibson's film yet it would have benefited greatly from.
There's also a contradictory nature; Despite feeling like an old-fashioned, Hollywood style picture it has many riffs and rip-off's of contemporary war movies. There are several unashamed nods to Full Metal Jacket, Saving Private Ryan and Gibson's own Braveheart and Hacksaw's major problem is that it doesn't come close to bettering any of them.
I'm also not sold on the choice of leading man; Andrew Garfield is not a bad actor by any means but he doesn't deliver a performance that's worthy of the Oscar nomination he's received for this. I don't know, maybe it's just his appearance that throws me off. He's too boyish or maybe it's just that I can't help but focus on how disproportionate his hair is to his face. It's not the first time in a film that I've noticed his monumentally large hair. It's very distracting.
That said, despite its cliches and sometimes woefully written dialogue, this still has much to offer in terms of entertainment and it's a pleasure to see Gibson calling the shots with his usual visceral approach. He still has a ferocious ability to stage a good action set-piece and Hacksaw provides a good number of them.
Although old sugar tits just can't help but put his Christian values and themes of religious devotion into this, it's hard not to be swept up in the combat and the man behind the astounding true story. It's not subtle storytelling from Gibson but it's simple and effective nonetheless.
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