Director Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge is an amazing film on several levels.
First of all, it is a harrowing view of what war is really like. I can’t remember of film that is as relentlessly graphic regarding the horror that happens on a battlefield. And, it is only watchable because of the hero of the film, a man who abhors what is going on and is only there to try and save as many lives he can.
This is the true story of Desmond Dawes, a young man from Virginia, who can’t abide staying safely at home while his brother and friends go off to war. Yet, his religion forbids taking a life and he won’t even hold a rifle.
Thinking he would become a medic, he ended up in a rifle battalion and had to suffer insults and beatings until he was court-martialed for disobeying his commander and had to go through a trial before being given the status as conscientious objector and, finally, allowed to become a medic.
It is Dawes’ incredible service on Okinawa that becomes the core of the film.
Dawes is admirably played by Andrew Garfield and other standout performances include Rachel Griffiths and Hugo Weaving as Dawes’ parents, as well as Teresa Palmer as the woman who becomes his wife.
The script by Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight is tight and to the point. John Gilbert’s editing is fabulous and Barry Robison’s Production Design is absolutely wonderful. It’s unbelievable that Gibson pulled together this production for a quarter of the cost spent on superhero fictions.
I give Hacksaw Ridge a 4.5 out of 5.