6 points about
We have done a lot of Oscar-bait type movies recently, and well, it does make sense seen as the Oscars are coming up relatively soon. So here is another movies that I was extremely hyped for, Hacksaw Ridge. Mel Gibson helmed the director’s chair for this one, and say what you will about him as a person, but the guy knows how to direct. It’s been a while since we saw Gibson direct a movie. 2006 in fact. So there was obviously a lot of worries entering this movie, and a lot of intrigue. But did I think that the movie payed-off? Read my 6 points about Hacksaw Ridge below.
1. The performances were all fantastic.
Almost every movie around now has great performances, but this is no exception. The not old but new Spider-Man himself plays the lead of Desmond Doss in this movie, a guy who wants to be a combat medic during the war. Oh, and he also refuses to kill. This guy won’t even touch a weapon. Garfield does a perfect job at playing this religious and pretty much bullied guy. He should certainly get nominated, no questions asked. Garfield really brought it in this movie, and while at the start I felt like this was going to be a very clichéd performance, he totally changed my perception of the performance by the end. Garfield is a great lead guy, and he owns this movie, but there is one other performance that particularly stood out for me in this movie. That was Vince Vaughn. Of course there were other very good performances in this movie, including the likes of Hugo Weaving, Sam Worthington and Teresa Palmer, but Vaughn was freaking amazing. Nobody is talking about Vaughn, and it’s probably because he isn’t exactly an awards buzz type of actor, and this is a major shame. This happens so often, when the typical Oscar friendly actors get all the love, while the unconventional picks don’t even get a look in. Vaughn had one particular scene when he is pretty much just making fun of all the soldiers, and it is one of my favourite of the year. I could go on a bit more about this, but I will leave this one here.
2. The build-up to the action was brilliantly executed.
This was almost a character study of Desmond Doss, and we are pretty much getting his whole back-story. When you hear what this movie is about, and the fact that he won’t pick up a weapon because of religion, you might be thinking that this will just be a pretentious, religious advertisement. But the reasoning for this is made so clear. You are always rooting for Garfield as Doss to succeed, and his story is told so well, particularly his whole family life, and life in his home-place. Hugo Weaving plays the drunk father and there are some intense scenes involving him. There was about 15 minutes around the middle where you kind of want to just get moving along to some action, and there was one plot point that just didn’t resonate with me. Other than that, this was a very good screenplay, that built up this character excellently. And you felt like you knew him and just wanted him to succeed.
3. The action was bloody amazing.
After a long build up, we finally get to see the battle. It’s almost not the typical action that we are accustomed to seeing, but true gruesome and realistic action. This wasn’t the visual masterpiece that we see in comic book movies, or over the top, blood splattering violence that we see in Tarantino movies, but it was true action. It felt real, and it felt like real people. Nobody really knew what they were doing, everybody was just crapping themselves, and shooting into the mist. It was truly intense and gave the move a very humanistic feel. After so much build up, there was finally a wonderful pay-off, and this was in true Mel Gibson style.
4. The sequence of Garfield saving everybody is pure inspiration.
Once the battle is more or less finished for the time being, Garfield’s character is like no, there is still people alive out there. He pretty much goes out, and attempts to save them all. It is both inspirational and intense. Inspirational in the fact that he is saving everybody, and intense by the fact that there is still Japanese out searching for survivors to kill, and he has to try and avoid them. Gibson did a great job at directing this part of the movie in particular and always kept it interesting. This is where Garfield gains the admiration of all his comrades, and this is all just simply thrilling to see unfold.
5. The fact that this was a true story makes it all the more thrilling.
The banner of “true story” in Hollywood doesn’t exactly mean that this all perfectly took place. I am not sure how much of this all exactly happened, but the fact that even some of it did, makes it all the more exhilarating. Any war movie is always going to be somewhat based on true events, but that this exact story did actually happen. Some guy managed to save so many lives, a guy who was bullied and looked down on, saved so many of these guy’s lives. Huge props to Gibson for how he handled this story, and he told it in such a beautiful way, that you almost forget that a lot of this genuinely happened. You feel like you are plopped right in the 1940’s, all thanks to Gibson’s wonderful directing.
6. Overall, Hacksaw Ridge is a thrilling story, and one of the best of the year.
Arrival is my current number one of the year, Hell or High Water is my number two. Hacksaw easily challenges both of these spots. It was a gripping story with wonderful characters. Garfield will get a best actor nod, without a doubt. The movie will probably get a best picture nod also. Winning is a whole different ball game, but these are definite locks. There is zero chance of a Vaughn nod, but I still thought he was great. Hacksaw Ridge is real return to form for Gibson, and he has made one of the best of 2016. I will give Hacksaw Ridge a 9.5/10.