by Michelle O'Toole January 6th, 2017
I recently saw the film Hacksaw Ridge, which is still playing in some cinemas. As I was buying my ticket, I remember thinking to myself “Hmmm, a Mel Gibson-directed film, should be interesting.” Then I remembered The Passion of the Christ, which was very moving and had artistic elements but it did make me cry. I’m not sure if I was crying as I was watching the cost to my saviour or just the bloody effects, needless to say, it left an impression.
Mel Gibson is now well experienced and entrenched in the Hollywood machine and has directed several films, which does include Braveheart. Mr. Gibson spent his childhood years in Sydney Australia, he graduated high school in Sydney and then attended NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Art) to obtain his training to become an actor. He grew up with ten siblings, surrounded by a lot of boys, it has bought out a boyish tendency for action and that quintessential larrikin personality of that period in Australia. Interestingly, I don’t think those experiences have left him as his beard now reminds me of a cross between a Melbourne hipster and an outback Aussie adventurer. He does pick films that are at times wrenching emotionally, something that has action and a bit of romance but also something that grabs a person emotionally as the viewer is watching the film, Hacksaw Ridge is no exception.
Andrew Garfield plays the key role of Desmond Doss, who initially seems soft and at ease with his world. Physically he appears slighter on screen than his other contemporaries and his demeanour is reserved. My initial thought was that Mr. Gibson had made a mistake, surely this character could not carry a story that would be in line with what he generally crafts and make no doubt about it Mel Gibson knows his stuff.
I found Desmond Doss interesting as we see his family life and hometown life unfold, he seems at ease with his lot. But then things change, as he decides to serve his country and go off to war. His strength of character carries the story, including the interesting tale of a soldier who refused to carry a weapon.
Andrew Garfield’s performance is incredible in what must have been a challenge for him with the story being both challenging physically and emotionally.
Visually the film moves through different landscapes as well from a beautiful part of America to training and then the war itself. Gore is part of the war scene with some parts not leaving much to the imagination and is bloody at times. The film does contain derogatory slurs which are consistent with that era.
Hacksaw Ridge is in keeping with Mr. Gibson’s style of directing and telling the story, his production company Icon is also involved with this film. It is worth viewing if you don’t mind some blood and gore, with a similar style to Saving Private Ryan (1998).