Hacksaw Ridge movie full length review - War from a pacifist view
"Hacksaw Ridge" is about the pacifist Desomond Doss, who refuses to pick up a gun, but somehow still manages to save over 70 lives in the battle of Okanawa.
Last night I saw this movie and "The accountant" back to back, and I have to say that this movie was the best out of the both. Mel Gibsons directing was on point. After ten years of doing no directing, he still has it. His shot composition is very good and he has put some symbolism in the last frame. Quite obvious, but still. He also managed to created a realistic feel for the movie. Mel also has some for shadowing going on in the movie. It doesn't happen once or twice, but a couple of times. I didn't really mind it, but maybe you could get annoyed by this. Mel Gibsons way of showing war was very good. He put down hell on screen. A lot of things helped him with this thing, the make- up design for example. The make-up looked very real. It reminded me of "Saving Private Ryan". Heads and other body parts were flying everywhere. The costume design too was really good. The movie also reminded me of "Full Metal Jacket" in a way. The training sequences looked similar and there was the drill sergeant. It kind of mirrors the movie in my opinion.
What Mel Gibson also did well were the battle sequences. If they are there, they hit hard. You feel so involved in those scenes. I was at the edge of my seat the entire time, with goosebumps. The score was loud and worked perfectly with those scenes. An example of the well-crafted score is in the first battle sequence and also my favorite part of the movie. This is with the mist hanging there, hiding everything in a threatening way. The score slowly building up to the reveal. The slow editing. And then action breaks loose and the score is at its peak, with the pacing suddenly moving faster than before. That part was really brilliantly handled by Mel Gibson and he gave me chills in those parts. Something that he also did right were the scenes where Desmond is the only one up there saving everyone. You are constantly sitting on the edge of your seat. At first I thought that it was going to get repetitive after a while (him constantly doing the same thing trying to help people), but Gibson managed to keep me interested, by showing new things constantly. The scenery in those scenes were good looking, jaw dropping even, but sometimes the Cgi was notable.
Now I've been praising the movie a lot for the battle sequences, but there are two things that I want to mention, which I didn't like from those parts. One is the scene where Desmond saves Sgt Howell, by dragging him on a blanket. That was just ridiculous. The ground was uneven everywhere and yet he pulls him forward like it's nothing, without any bumps even. Sgt Howell also just keeps shooting at the Japps like he is Rambo. And another thing I disliked was the cheap way that Desmond escapes from the Japps in the tunnels. That was lazy movie magic. And a thing that I disliked a tiny bit, is that the first act takes a long time to set up the rest of the movie. But after the first act, everything becomes ten times better.
The acting was really good. Andrew Garfield gave his best performance yet. He really showed how his character evolved from a normal boy, to a damaged man. He shone on the battlefield, with all the emotion he had. He could say things, without even speaking. His accent was very good. Hugo Weaving, who played Desmonds dad, really was fantastic too. If he doesn't get an Oscar nomination, there's something wrong with them. I think that Weaving managed to show what war could do to a man. He gave in my opinion the best performance of the movie. Someone that surprised me was Vince Vaughn. This was one of his more serious roles, and I think that he should keep doing them. He was phenomenal as the drill sergeant. Not as good as the one in "Full Metal Jacket", but still very good. Sam Worthington and Luke Bracey are good in this movie. I didn't even realize that I was watching Worthington act. And last but not least: Teresa Palmer. She was very good, and also gave the performance of her career,. Which does not say much if you look at the other movies she has been in.
The script was good. It was good in the dialogue aspect, but very good in the charactorial aspect. The characters were well developed and had its arcs. We go from Smitty hating Desmond, to them building up a friendship. We go from a normal young man, to a damaged one. There were also some cliché characters (The hand someone, the nerd...), but they need to be there, because of the giant amount of other characters. The cliché ones are easier to recognize on the field. Some of the characters that they set up, were being underused in my opinion. Like I've said before I think that they could've left some bits out in the beginning of the movie. I understand why they put those things in there. They wanted to set up the characters believes and motivation for it, and give him some more substance, but it just took them to long to do this.
So that's my opinion of "Hacksaw Ridge", I probably forgot some things to say, because there's a lot to say about this movie. It's one of my favorites of 2016 and that's why I'm giving this one a 9.6/10.