Hacksaw Ridge (2016) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
842 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
At The Very Center Of It All
littlemartinarocena28 January 2017
We knew already that Mel Gibson is a filmmaker with a powerful vision and the craftsmanship to go with it. Extraordinary battle scenes. Violence, Gibson style, which means Peckinpah plus, because here there is such a personal intention that makes every frame, utterly compelling. The only drawback and I have to say it, Vince Vaughn. Why? In the moment he appears, this extraordinary film becomes a movie. It took me completely out of it. When you look at him you see an actor, acting. On the other hand, Andrew Garfield. Sublime. He makes totally believable a character that could be fictional. The humanity in Andrew Garfield's eyes makes everything real. It tells us, in no uncertain terms, that at the very center of it all, there is love. Love!
295 out of 387 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Back on the battlefield with Mel...
DukeEman9 October 2016
I was lucky enough to sneak into a cast & crew screening at the Newtown Dendy cinema. I thought 10.30AM on a Sunday was too early for a Mel Gibson movie, that I might be in for something along the lines of the heavy-handedness of THE PASSION OF THE Christ, and the adrenaline pumped brilliance of APOCALYPTO.

I was proved wrong because after the first thirty minutes I wasn't sure if this was a Mel Gibson film when I was placed into a comfort zone, with its melodrama set in a small Virginia town during the Forties, a schmaltzy romance, and the cliché violent drunken father who survived a brutal war. The performances were maybe a little let down by the clumsy dialogue, but all directed safely with a natural sense of storytelling.

By the 2nd act, I was put on high alert in the military training with our protagonist, Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield who I at first felt was wrongly cast, but he really came through in the end). It was here when the true purpose of the story began to evolve, that of Doss' moral and internal conflict with using a gun! What he had to endure and stand-up for was a courage I greatly admired. It was also in this phase of the film that the dialogue and characters began to shine. Maybe it was the introduction of Vince Vaughn's character. We all know how Vaughn is notorious in ad-libbing, and it seemed to help because the other actors bounced off it well.

Now the story had me in their pocket because by the 3rd act I was with our protagonist and his platoon when they got to the battlefield graveyard of Hacksaw Ridge. You thought the horrific situation in WE WERE SOLDIERS was brutal, well this was captured so vividly that you felt you were there. It was almost on par with the brilliance of GAME OF THRONES; BATTLE OF THE BASTARDS.

Now I felt I was in a Mel Gibson film. As with Braveheart, the battle scenes in Hacksaw Ridge didn't hold back. Maybe a notch better because of today's CGI (and I didn't even notice the effects!). The scenes were unflinching, haunting and in your face. Possibly showing you the true horror of war. Definitely not for the squeamish.

The religious aspect of the film was relevant to the story, so as a non-believer I thought it was an integral part of the protagonist and had to be told, so it didn't bother me as much.

Overall the technical aspect of the film was brilliant, but then again I didn't really notice it because I was too distracted by the story and the characters, and when that occurs, I know the film has succeeded.
198 out of 290 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Mel Gibson's near-triumphant come-back
TheLittleSongbird4 February 2017
Not one of my favourite war films, like 1930's 'All Quiet on the Western Front', 'Paths of Glory', 'The Thin Red Line' and 'Apocalypse Now', but exceptionally well made and incredibly powerful.

It has been said about 'Hacksaw Ridge' that the second half is better than the first half, something that is agreed with by me. Not that the family/character study stuff is bad, far from it, it's beautifully filmed, even better acted and paints Doss as a very fascinating character that it's easy from the get go to identify with his wants to succeed against all catastrophic odds.

Just that the first third does take time to get going with a pedestrian pace, the dialogue is corny (in fact, to me the dialogue is the least good thing about 'Hacksaw Ridge' in general and the element that rings true the least) and the sentimentality is laid too thick (this is also particularly true in the slightly underdeveloped romance).

However this is made up for by the entertaining yet hard-hitting training scenes and in particular the truly jaw-droppingly brutal war/battle scenes that soar in nerve-shredding intensity and raw emotion, giving the first 30 minutes of 'Saving Private Ryan' a run for its money and perhaps making it tame in comparison (high praise for a film with one of the most gut-wrenching first 30 minutes on film, though to me the rest of the film isn't quite as good).

Throughout 'Hacksaw Ridge' has exceptional production values, in particular the cinematography in the battle scenes, and Gibson directs like his life was depending on it. Rupert Gregson-Williams' score has the right amount of pulsating energy and nuance, and the sound effects in the war/battle scenes have a terrifying authenticity.

For a vast majority of the time, the story is very compelling and makes the most of mature and very easy to relate with themes. It has a wide range of emotional impact, being for the second half intensely powerful, much of the film being poignant, some of it sardonically amusing (without it being out of place) and also all of it inspirational. Rather than straying from the facts for dramatic license, Gibson is surprisingly respectful this time round.

Andrew Garfield has yet to give a better performance than his astonishing turn here (though he is splendid too in Martin Scorsese's 'Silence'), and Gibson similarly brings the best out of Sam Worthington (often a charisma-free actor but here doubts were cast aside) and Vince Vaughn (at his sardonic best while also touchingly subdued, proof that he can be good if the material serves him all which too often in his career it hasn't but it does brilliantly here). Hugo Weaving is terrific, also giving some of his best work in some time. Teresa Palmer makes the most of her role.

In conclusion, a near-triumphant come-back. 8/10 Bethany Cox
27 out of 37 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Welcome back Mr Gibson
bartonj241025 September 2016
When thinking about war films, it's very hard not to go straight to the classics such as Apocalypse Now, Platoon or Saving Private Ryan. You have to make something very special to be mentioned in the same sentence as films like those and in Hacksaw Ridge, I think Mel Gibson has made one of the all time great war films.

Some war films use a particular war from history to tell a fictional story, all three of the above for example however, a war film for me becomes something else entirely when it tells a true story, especially one as remarkable as the story that Hacksaw Ridge is based on.

Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield) became the first Conscientious Objector in American history to be awarded the Medal of Honour even though he refused to kill or even carry a rifle while serving as a medic during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II. Doss' phenomenal story of courage saw him single-handedly save the lives of over 75 of his comrades while under constant enemy fire.

Hacksaw Ridge is very much a film of two halves; the first introducing us to Doss, exploring both his personal life and his motivations for choosing to become a Conscientious Objector and serve as a medic, the second depicting the Battle of Okinawa at Hacksaw Ridge, the site of one of the bravest human feats in history. Both tell the story of the determined individual that Doss was and Mel Gibson does a wonderful job in directing the film.

Gibson has attracted a lot of bad press over the years but there is no denying that he is a good director, and in Hacksaw Ridge, he may just have made his best film yet. It's the emotional power of the story that Gibson taps into so successfully that makes Hacksaw Ridge such compelling viewing, whether it be Doss' arduous journey through combat training or the visceral war sequences. I was an emotional wreck as the credits started to roll.

Speaking of war sequences, Hacksaw Ridge possesses some of the most brutal and harrowing you'll ever see, reminiscent of the opening to Saving Private Ryan. Due to the fact that Doss served as a medic, there are parts where a strong stomach is needed as he obviously has to tend to a number of seriously wounded soldiers. The relentlessness of the sequences is admirable from Gibson and they're wonderfully shot by Simon Duggan.

Coming to the performances, Hacksaw Ridge features an amazing lead performance from Andrew Garfield, who wanted to move away from his days as Spider-Man with a chance to play such an inspiring real life hero. I thought Garfield was always one of the best things about the Amazing Spider-Man films but it's great to see him really grow as an actor. His performance as Doss is one of the best of the year and I would love to see him get some form of recognition come awards season.

The supporting cast threw me a little but they all play their part in excelling the film, expected from the likes of Hugo Weaving and Teresa Palmer but the film surprised me with how good some of the cast were. Sam Worthington and Luke Bracey were two that come to mind but the real surprise was Vince Vaughn, who I never thought I'd see play a part in a war film, particularly that of an Army Sergeant.

Few films this year have hit me emotionally as Hacksaw Ridge did and that's why I have to say it's a most welcome return to filmmaking from Mel Gibson. It's right up there as one of the best films of the year and definitely one to see on the big screen.
549 out of 802 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
one of the most violent sensory assaults that can be experienced in a cinema
CineMuseFilms18 October 2016
Good war-films can be very disturbing to watch. The dramatic realism of modern digital effects spares little and many audiences will find Hacksaw Ridge (2016) one of the most violent sensory assaults that can be experienced in a cinema. If it were not a true story that celebrates an unusual hero the film could have been accused of a gratuitous display of unrelenting carnage and military triumphalism.

The film plays in two halves: the early life and romance of Army Medic Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) and the actual Battle of Hacksaw Ridge. Raised in bible best Virginia, Doss had a troubled upbringing under an abusive father. A devout Seventh-day Adventist, he swore never to commit violence or even carry a weapon but felt duty-bound to enlist in the Army. Not long after meeting the one love of his life, nurse Dorothy Schutte (Teresa Palmer), he enlisted with the belief that he could serve his God unarmed and without killing enemy soldiers.

Branded a coward and bullied to leave, he was eventually granted conscientious objector status and became one of the troops sent to capture Hacksaw Ridge in the Battle of Okinawa of May 1945. While the assault was forced to retreat under overwhelming enemy fire, Doss remained behind and single-handedly evacuated 75 casualties, lowering them by rope from an escarpment over 100 metres high. The Ridge was eventually captured and Doss became one of the most decorated heroes of World War II.

The heroism depicted in this story is of such an extraordinary magnitude that it can easily overwhelm any consideration of the film's merits. With an uncomplicated and factual narrative arc, the story rests on two pillars: acting and filming. On both scores, this film deserves high praise. While the early life and romance chapter drifts towards melodrama, Garfield is cast to perfection as the wide-eyed and straight talking man of unshakeable principle and Palmer convincingly plays his adorable emotional anchor. Together with a strong support cast that includes several big-name stars, this is a powerful ensemble that carries the story convincingly.

The most outstanding element of this film, however, is its powerhouse hyper-realistic cinematography and spectacular set constructions that relentlessly convey the brutality of war. While it is an outstanding technical production, giving spectacle precedence over narrative is the film's Achilles Heel. One or maybe a few helmeted heads shredded or bodies bayonetted can convey much, but twenty deadens the senses. If ever there was a case where less could have been more, this is it. Otherwise this is a gripping film with forceful storytelling about a remarkable war hero.
139 out of 212 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Powerful - well acted piece
conan-222 September 2016
As someone from Sydney, Australia I was proud at the way this was filmed. Using the Hollywood model, there would have been lots of sets but using actual buildings allowed a lot of warmth to come through in the natural light. Gibson is a fine director, I was impressed with his framing, he shoots very closely for the acting stuff (more head and shoulder) which is quite interesting on the eye. Using more natural light it is quite beautiful. I suspect Gibson will not yet have been forgiven for his personal life to get the recognition he deserves.

This movie could have been another Forest Gump, it could overly sentimental, instead, carries an appropriate amount of sincerity. The backstory is a major part of the movie. Doss is portrayed as uneasy with the girls who fell for the first pretty thing he saw. This could have been so Forest Gump-like but strikes a nice chord.

The cast was excellent. Hugo Weaving was perfection. He carried the first half of the movie as the battle-fatigued (PTSD) WW1 vet father. Some may complain that the women are poorly portrayed as are the Japanese, who are largely like ants coming from their mound or canon fodder.

As brutal as the second half is, I am sure it could not convey how truly gallant Doss was or brutal it was in reality.
300 out of 418 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Stirring War Film
Hitchcoc28 October 2019
The resistant soldier has been a theme for many films over the years. The young man here who serves as a medic has several good reasons for not carrying a gun. Apparently, putting yourself into harms way, unarmed is not adequate to keep you from being tormented. This could have been a cliche, but the acting is superb, the effects amazing, and the pacing works wonderfully. Basing it on an actual Medal of Honor recipient gives it a little push ahead of most others.
11 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Masterful Direction Makes for a Terrific War Film
Michael_Elliott15 February 2017
Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

**** (out of 4)

The incredible true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), a simple man from Virginia who grows up with a strong religious nature, which means that he can not kill anyone. WWII breaks out and Doss believes it's his duty to sign up but he's soon butting heads with the people in his troop as he refuses to pick up a gun. They believe him to be a coward and can't understand his feelings but soon he's going to have to prove his worth during the battle of Okinawa.

Mel Gibson's HACKSAW RIDGE is a story that probably would have been laughed off the page had it not been based on a true story. Obviously I'm not going to spoil the various plot points in the film but it's quite remarkable what this young man did. Not only the courage he showed but also the guts it took for him to stand up and do what he believed in. Gibson's direction is perfect and technically speaking there's not a single flaw to be found. There's no question that the film is one of the greatest war movies out there.

What makes the film work so wonderfully well is that the drama off the battle field is just as intense as what is on the battle field once we get there. The battle scenes themselves are downright horrific and there about as tense as you're ever going to witness on a screen. Gibson's direction through these scenes was terrific and I must say that he managed to put some of the most graphic war scenes that you're ever going to witness. There's also a jump scare that happens towards the end, which has to be one of the greatest of any film I've seen. There's no question that you feel the horror that these men felt and it's just amazing that anyone could go through that and survive.

Many people say SAVING PRIVATE RYAN has the greatest battle scenes and they're perfect but so are the ones here. What makes this film even greater for me is the fact that the story outside the battle is wonderful. I thought the training sequences were terrific and I thought the abuse that Doss goes through was terrific. Yes, we've seen this stuff in countless war movies but the story here is just so great and Gibson does such a wonderful job that you can't help but feel as if they're fresh and original. It also helps that the entire cast is so wonderful with Garfield leading the way. He's simply terrific here and not once do you ever feel as if you're watching an actor doing a part. You really do feel as if you're watching a real man battle with his beliefs. Sam Worthington, Vince Vaughn, Hugo Weaving and Teresa Palmer are all terrific as well.

I usually hate when a new movie opens and it gets labeled "the greatest" this or "the greatest" that. I honestly think films need time to grow and time to become a classic but I honestly have no reservation calling this film something truly special. It works on every level and it's really a masterful piece of filmmaking and it shows once again that Gibson is one of the greatest director's working.
14 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The 'using kind of religion'.
bkoganbing3 April 2017
I guess that Hacksaw Ridge could probably best be compared to the great Gary Cooper film Sergeant York which hewed pretty close to the truth about Alvin C. York, his background in Eastern Tennessee and his exploits in World War I.

Like our protagonist Desmond Doss here, York had a rural background and joined a pacifist religious sect. Unlike Doss, York grew up as a hunter and was a dead shot. He wasn't sure what he would do if a combat situation arose. But he did what he did and got every decoration imaginable including the Congressional Medal Of Honor.

Doss had a tougher row to hoe. He would not touch a weapon and the film will show you why. He felt it his patriotic duty to join, but as a combat medic, save lives rather than kill. With no weapon to defend his own person, this medic saved a lot of people at an engagement at a place dubbed Hacksaw Ridge in the Battle of Okinawa.

In Sergeant York, Walter Brennan's country preacher character says that Gary Cooper has the 'using kind of religion'. That might well be said of Andrew Garfield as Desmond Doss who got a Best Actor Oscar nomination as Doss. Cooper won one of his two Oscars for Sergeant York and Garfield really suggests his character in what he does with Doss.

The battle scenes are suggestive of Saving Private Ryan, director Mel Gibson staged them well. Hacksaw Ridge did win a pair of Oscars for its Sound. Gibson got nominated for Best Director and the film itself for Best Picture.

Hacksaw Ridge shows the horrors of war and from it the beauty of heroism when people have to summon their personal best and become more than themselves. The Doss story is one that deserves telling and retelling. Thanks to Mel Gibson it will be permanently retold.
12 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Autistic Reviewers Opinion Of This Movie.
autisticreviewers17 October 2016
War films can be a bit hard to sit through, with its graphic depictions of key battles in history, strong themes of power, brotherhood and the effect it has among the world but with Mel Gibson's latest war drama 'Hacksaw Ridge' it manages to be something more that we can grasp it.

The true life story of Desmond Doss is finally brought to the big screen, Doss was a US Army medic who served during WWII, but coming from a family with a strong religious beliefs and a father that struggled with the aftermath of WWI (a veteran himself) it lead him to be a Seventh-day Adventist, refusing to bare a firearm and the use of violence against another. His personal choice would affect his country's army and persuaded a court hearing to charge Doss for his personal beliefs and objection to bare arms but despite this, he is given the chance though to fight alongside his 'brothers' in the Battle of Okinawa, a battle which the American forces fought against the invading Japanese in an intense and brutal battle. It is here in this key battle that Doss was recognised as a true hero for his country, as he managed to rescue the lives of 75 soldiers wounded in battle.

Gibson returns to the director's chair to helm this true story, giving his touch of humanistic quality, anti-war themes and brutality to the horrors of war to much great detail. The direction is pretty much on point throughout and never goes dull or loses itself during the 2 ½ running time. The first half of the film is about character and what establishes Doss to become a legend that he is known for, while the 2nd half of the film focuses on his role during the Battle of Okinawa and the brutal battle itself. The violence here is given so much detail, not holding back on the horrors of war and the devastating effect it carried on both sides. The production design, sound mixing, editing and scale of the battle is as intense, horrifying and respectful to the details and real life experiences to what we've read in history books, but it is yet filmed with beautiful and yet brutal detailing that echoes much to Saving Private Ryan's D-Day battle sequence. The 2nd half of the film is much darker than the first half and people will need a strong stomach to handle the graphic depictions of violence and deaths we see throughout, but it does get emotional at times and in the last few minutes of the film, though overall the film is emotional with Doss's back-story, his personal lifestyle and the brotherhood that Doss and his army experience and share on the battlefield.

In terms of acting, the cast as a whole is incredible with Andrew Garfield, Hugo Weaving, Vince Vaughn, Luke Bracey and Teresa Palmer giving the best key performances of the film. Garfield has come a long way to prove himself as a worthy actor, breaking away from his well known role as Spider-Man prior to HR. To describe his role as Doss, he gives a quality that defines him as a simple man with values in his life while facing a few struggles that form his belief of not bearing violence or firearms. Garfield must have given much study and preparation for the role, as his character's journey from a wise simple man to a hero of his army is given so much heart, emotion and bravery to make the journey of Doss so believable.

Overall, Hacksaw Ridge is a film that will leave audiences in state of emotion that describes the horrors of war, the bravery of Doss and his army and a sense of thankfulness to our past ancestors who had lived in a time to fight for freedom and peace when the world was divided. An incredible film that will indeed earn its amount for Oscar nominations and wins in 2017 (possibly for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Production Design, Music Score, Sound Mixing & Editing and Script) alongside other film awards. A must see film if you have studied history at school, have an interest in history or if you love a solid war film that's true to its core. A masterpiece that will not be forgotten so quickly or never will, we both highly recommend it.

5/5 Autistic Reviewers
226 out of 391 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A real war story told realistically.
jdesando31 October 2016
"I have seen stalks of corn with better physiques." Sergeant Howell (Vince Vaughn)

Director Mel Gibson is an action genius and along with that compliment, let's add he knows his violence. Hacksaw Ridge is a true and heroic story of the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor for bravery in battle. Brave also could be any attempt to separate the film from its controversial director, but I'll let the film speak for itself.

The contradiction is real: Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield) was a Seventh Day Adventist who not only refused to work on Saturdays, but he also refused even to touch a gun. Through the intervention at a court martial of his improbably brave and conflicted father (Hugo Weaving), Doss is allowed to serve as a medic under those conditions, proving to all that he could be braver saving men at Okinawa's Hacksaw Ridge than anyone else (75 men as a medic with a flair for ingenious rescuing).

Although Director Gibson is best known for his graphic depictions of violence in Apocalypto and The Passion of the Christ, he can also be accused, along with writers Andrew Knight and Robert Schenkkan, of clichéd story telling. The film's two parts, at home and at war, follow some pretty trite set-ups such as the mountain boy smitten by the nurse, the call to righteous service, the tough drill sergeant ( a terrific Vince Vaughn, see opening quote), and the sentimental trench dialogue.

Yet these flaws work when the story needs them to establish Doss's kind heart, courage, and the essential goodness of fellow combatants as they confess they misread him and his conscientious objection. If you can forgive the almost unreal, lush setting for his youth in Lynchburg, Virginia, and his mooning for his future wife, Dorothy (Teresa Palmer), then you will enjoy seeing a real hero in a real war.

Yes, Gibson knows how to depict action, not just pain, and it helps make Hacksaw Ridge a welcome addition to war films that tell true stories. And lest I forget, welcome back, Mel; you have been redeemed.
74 out of 136 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Hacksaw Ridge was a compelling take on the heroism of one Desmond Doss
tavm8 December 2016
Watched this with my movie theatre-working friend yesterday, the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Desmond Doss was a conscience objector during World War II meaning he refused to carry a gun while in the Army. He eventually managed to save many of his fellow comrades during the battle of Okinawa by moving them to safety using the rope tricks he learned during basic training. If you're familiar with director Mel Gibson's graphic take on The Passion of the Christ, those battle scenes shouldn't surprise here nor how long it is being depicted. Still, there's also a nice romance between Desmond and Dorothy (Andrew Garfield and Teresa Palmer) in the beginning parts. Overall, me and my friend highly recommend Hacksaw Ridge.
10 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Most of these men don't believe the same way you do, but they believe so much in how much you believe.
hitchcockthelegend26 May 2019
Hacksaw Ridge is directed by Mel Gibson and written by Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight. It is based on the 2004 documentary The Conscientious Objector. It stars Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Vince Vaughn, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer, Ryan Corr, Hugo Weaving and Rachel Griffiths. Music is by Rupert Gregson-Williams and cinematography by Simon Duggan.

Film is a depiction of the real life heroics of Desmond Doss, an American pacifist combat medic in WWII during The Battle of Okinawa.

How great to have Gibson back directing, more so when he's tackling the brutalities of war and the critical human interest stories within. The story of Desmond Doss is inspirational stuff and Gibson and his team have done his story proud.

First half of the picture details Doss' upbringing, getting to know his family background, his beliefs and the forming of his loving relationship with Dorothy Schutte. Then after Pearl Harbour he enlists in service and we are then witness to boot camp, which comes with the horrors of bullying and ostracization due to Doss refusing to even touch a rifle - let alone use one! After the military based political thunder has exhausted its armoury, Doss and the rest of the 77th Infantry Division are sent to Okinawa to try and capture the Maeda Escarpment (Hacksaw Ridge). From where a true legend is born.

As is a Gibson trademark, the battle scenes are terrifyingly real and bloody as can be, the horrors of war laid bare for dramatic impact. Amongst the carnage, which is magnificently framed in smoky hazes and a landscape obliterated by weaponry, Doss (brilliantly brought to life by Garfield) comes to the fore. From within the madness comes humanity in its purest and most genuine form, and it makes for edge of the seat viewing whilst stirring the blood of those invested fully in this remarkable story. 9/10
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
admirable work
Kirpianuscus26 February 2017
it seems be the perfect war film. for its powerful graphic. for the story of an unconventional hero. for a manner to see life and death not only in the middle of battle but in its evolution from the root to the fruits. it is a film remarkable in its errors and mistakes and not the best parts. maybe, because it is a Mel Gibson film. a honest film. dramatic in a old fashion manner. using the violence not for impress but for explain. proposing the vulnerable hero who becomes great for his obvious vulnerability. it is real hard for me to be objective about this film as fan of Andrew Garfield. and it is not fair to say only than he did a great job. so,the only word who could be inspired from me is : see it !
8 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
'Help me get one more.'
gradyharp28 May 2017
Seeing and experiencing films such as HACKSAW RIDGE during Memorial Day is a strong reminder of the honor we owe to the men and women who have fought to protect us. Though wars continue, around the globe and within our strife-ridden country, the horror of war is ever present, but the courage and sacrifice veterans have made and continue to make deserve our honor.

HACKSAW RIDGE is a very fine film about the battle of WW II on Okinawa as written for the screen by Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight and direct with great sensitivity by Mel Gibson. This, as we all know, is a true story of a young conscientious objector Desmond Doss (Darcy Bryce/Andrew Garfield) who entered training for WW II having had a terrifying experience as a child with his brother Hal (Roman Guerriero/Nathaniel Buzolic), enduring the PTSD alcoholic father (a brilliant performance from Hugo Weaving), growing up as a 7th Day Adventist, and how he adjusts to military life in training, nears court marshal because of his refusal to carry a gun, and ends up in Okinawa where unarmed he save the lives of 75 fellow GIs. Thankfully the script allows the first half of the film show the character development of Desmond, introducing the men in his company (Luke Pegler, Luke Bracey, Nico Cortez, Farass Dirani, Jim Robison, Goran D. Klet, Damien Thomlinson, Sam Worthington, a brilliant Vince Vaughan, and more), and Desmond's love interest (Teresa Palmer) and his mother (Rachel Griffiths).

The fighting action is brilliantly depicted and well photographed by Simon Duggan – and of course directed by Gibson. Rupert Gregson-Williams supplies the very appropriate musical score. The film is violent to watch: war is violent to watch. The message of Desmond Doss's honor is underlined by images at the end of the film. This is a very fine film – particularly on Memorial Day.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Hacksaw Ridge marks a triumphant return for Mel Gibson.
TheMovieDiorama18 March 2018
Ten years since his last directorial effort 'Apocalypto' and many were wondering if he could match the excellence of his previous work, especially since this hiatus consisted of many controversies for the actor/director. Well, I'm pleased to say that Hacksaw Ridge is most definitely one of the best war films of this century. A bold claim such as this needs proof, and I always say "proof is in the pudding". Detailing the efforts of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who refused to carry a weapon, during the battle for Hacksaw Ridge against the Japanese. Illustrating the heroism, valour and bravery of one man who, through inner strength and conviction, saved the lives of many wounded soldiers. I am a sucker for good old fashioned Hollywood stories about a hero who defied all the odds. Everyone and everything was against Doss, including the rest of his unit at first, which automatically creates emotional investment towards our protagonist. You want him to succeed in his endeavours, you want him to prove all the naysayers wrong. He does...and then some. Through visceral direction from Gibson, who honestly directed the heck out of this, Doss was portrayed enigmatically by Garfield. Balancing both innocence and conviction in equal measures to produce a character that breaks your heart. Every facial expression and action Garfield makes feels natural and racks up to be one of his best performances. Supported by an excellent cast, particularly Vaughn, Weaving and Worthington, who provide backstory and development to what could've been expendable assets. The battle scenes were breathtakingly claustrophobic, the usage of blood and violence contradicts the religious subtext in the narrative which further enhances the ideologies of pacifism. Countless bodies on fire and limbs gliding through the explosions, just relentless filmmaking. The overuse of melodrama during the first half did provide an unusual tonal shift for the second half, took me a while to adjust. But, in the end, all I have to say is "Mel, welcome back!".
15 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
War - The saviour
kosmasp12 June 2017
This is based on a true story, which makes it even more amazing when you think about everything that happens. Of course you could start to question the motives and the morale of the main character (real person). But you would derive yourself of a really powerful but also violent movie. Teresa Palmer and the personal life may seem like a footnote, but they also show a strong personality.

And while we can understand why there are so many people who try to discourage our main hero, we get a bit of an inside what makes him tick. Very early on in his life he had an inciting incident. One that scares you for life, one that is really paving the way. So the set up is clear, the action scenes on the other hand are very dirty and very brutal. But that is war, it's not for the squeamish. And while you may have issues with Mel Gibson and his private life (decisions), you can't fault the movie ...
10 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Saviour Private Doss
Vladimir-142 November 2016
Just watched this movie at the pre-screening and feel like I owe it to the creators to write a review. Having read other reviews, it is hard to stay original, so first are few thoughts that I shared with the others. Great to have Mel Gibson back in the directors seat. I will be surprised if we don't see this film in a few Oscars categories. Now, few thoughts of my own. The movie depicts brutality of war in gory details, so much so, that I had to turn my eyes away from screen couple of times. However, I do understand why this was important to the story line. It was done so that we could truly appreciate Doss's act of bravery, feel it like we were there and witnessed it firsthand - nothing was left out. The story grabs you from beginning and does not let you off until very end - after the movie I turned back and half of the girls in the theater were still wiping tears. Bottom line - instant classic that will find it's place on the shelf next to the likes of Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers.
184 out of 273 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An Anti-War and Pro-War Movie...Pretension and Cliché Embraced with Ease
LeonLouisRicci13 March 2017
Mel Gibson's Directorial Return, after a 10 Year Hiatus, is neither an Anti-War or Pro-War Film, it is both.

If it wasn't a Documented True Story of Conscientious Objector Desmond Doss who Refused to Touch a Gun, although Enlisting to Serve in WWII, one might get the Impression that the Film was Allegorical about the Resurrected Jesus Christ.

That Impression is Felt once the Movie's Second Half turns to the Battle of Okinawa and the "Hero" of the New Testament finds Himself in a Hell that is the Human Condition and still Maintains the "Love Thy Neighbor" and "Turn the Other Cheek" Demeanor that He, by Example, Maintains throughout the Carnage and Slaughter.

The Film is Grounded with Good Performances, not only Andrew Garfield, but also with Hugo Weaving as Doss's Father Riveting and Bristling with Gravitas, and others Contributing the Fleshing Out (literally) needed to make the Movie Mesmerizing.

The Battle Sequences get a lot of Ink and they are Visceral with the Violence Sharply Cutting on the Edges of the Frame as Garfield's Doss Centers the Action with a Calm that Defies Normal Human Reaction. It's as though He is Cloaked with Protection from an Unearthly Source.

The Film is Rife with War Movie and World War II Era Clichés that are Presented with a Pretension of Ease and seem Ironically Necessary to tell the Story. The First Half Develops the Desmond Doss Character and the Second Half Deconstructs the Convictions of His Belief.

A Fine Film that is Recommended and Deserves the Attention it has Received because in its Glorious Simplicity it is Accomplished and a Rewarding Experience.
14 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A truly awesome movie
iainsmith-180614 December 2021
One of the best movies I've seen in a long time & the fact it's a true story makes it even better. Mel Gibson directs this & he has done those men proud .
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A war film smothered between thick coatings of religious rhetoric....
s32761695 February 2017
I came to Hacksaw Ridge hoping for an interesting and realistic portrayal of the life of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector, who saved the lives of countless battlefield wounded, as a medic.

What you get instead is saccharine, hero stick, smothered beneath thick coatings of religious rhetoric. Its painful stuff, that had me squirming in my seat within the first five minutes of the film's opening scenes.

Just as bothersome is the assumption its "OK" to be a behave like a nihilistic, cruel drunk (the father character) because "hey, he served in the war". This is such a common excuse, in US made war films and television that really does not hold up to close scrutiny.

The war scenes in this film are well shot (it does come with a huge budget) and the acting is of a good caliber. That said, there's little of substance on offer here, aside from romanticizing brutal and awful events, that, in my mind, deserve a more somber, down to earth treatment.

Four out of ten from me.
27 out of 52 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An epic and breathtaking WWII movie with great performances and impressive battles
ma-cortes4 February 2022
This is the true story of Desmond T. Doss , a conscientious objector during WWII , a hero who saved many lives . It starts with an American army veteran (Hugo Weaving) grieves by the tombstones of his army company that died during World War I. Back home, he and his wife (Rachel Giffiths) raise his two sons in a pious setting and ask them to avoid firearms . After a naughty fight gets worse , Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield) reads the Bible and promises that he will never take up arms or use them against other human beings . Desmond then saves the life of a walker , experiencing a wholesome satisfaction in the process . In the hospital, he is smitten by a beautiful nurse (Teresa Palmer), who he then dates. After the United States enters the Second World War, both sons are voluntereed to enlist , adding to the ire of the daddy who despises his sons joining the Army. Thing go wrong when the rigorous regimen of training in the Army requires Desmond to use his firearms training. As Desmond was firstly accused by his companions as a coward , as he has taken a religious oath to shun weapons ,tater on , they will change their minds . Based on the incredible true story. When the order came to retreat, one man stayed.

This great story is based on facts , about one of the greatest heroes in American history never fired a bullet, this is Private Desmond Doss who inspired us about an incredible-bravery-true story on Hacksaw Ridge at the Battle of Okinawa , as he was the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor . The film is justly divided into two parts , the first dealing with the local existence of our starring , including a touching love story with a nurse , and the second one in which the protagonist goes into action as a paramedic in the war front . Of course, the best part is when he goes to the war front to fight the Japanese, when the regiment get posted to Hacksaw Ridge, Okinawa ; his staging is downright extraordinary. Here is where the movie really shines, including lots of epic scenes, impressive battles with explosions, gunshots and lots of deaths. And the final images are really moving and spectacular , all these scenes really add value to the film, which can well be described as magnificent . There are many sensitive scenes and the glorification of essential human values such as sacrifice , fellowship , bravery , heroism and faith in God. These values are well highlighted in our protagonist Doss who sacrifices himself for others and for God. Very good acting by Andrew Garfield as the good-natured young whho vows not to harm another human in his life . He's well accompanied by a stunning cast such as Hugo Weaving , Rachel Griffiths , Teresa Palmer, Vince Vaughan , Sam Worthington , Richard Roxburgh, among others , all ot them provide compelling interpretations.

It displays a rousing and stirring musical score by Rupert Gregson-Williams who replaced James Horner for the final cut . As well as colorful and brilliant cinematography by Simon Duggan . The motion picture was competently directed by Mel Gibson and shot in fifty-nine days. This great actor and filmmaker has directed some good movies , such as : The Man Without a Face , Braveheart , The Passion of the Christ and his last one : Apocalypto. And this Hacksaw Ridge(2016) is rated 8.5/10. The filck will appeal to WWII aficionados and Andrew Garfield fans . Essential and indispensable seeing , better than average . Well worth seeing.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Will you hold it against me if I say "Hackneyed Ridge?" Probab;y.
shoobe01-121 March 2018
This film wants to be a bio of moral courage in the face of whatever. Sure. I can see how that was the point. But they lost it on the way.

And in the end, to me, absolute and 100% failure. It Is A War Movie. Have no doubts. A lot of the movie is the fighting on Okinawa, from the point of view of the armed soldiers, and their officers and NCOs. Sometimes, briefly, from the POV of the Japanese.

There are occasional cuts to little vignettes of our hero doing things. But they are disjointed and have no obvious point.

And the whole opening, the first hour or so, is tragically maudlin. A trite aw-shucks love story/basic training thing that turns into a slightly put-upon then triumphant but boring victory.

Boring is the deal. Sure the battle scenes are gory, but what's the point of it all? I mean, in the film, why are we watching this? Why does any of it inform anything we're supposed to understand about the morality or faith of our hero?

It all feels like a TED talk. A PPT that tells a Heartwarming Story of Success In Adversity. Or if you prefer, a sermon with a great story. But film should show, not tell. And this thing tells you, repeatedly, what you are supposed to think, then goes off a plays video games for a while in between.
18 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Hacksaw Ridge: an emotional journey alongside the war-hero, Desmond Doss.
gregorysmith-825208 October 2016
Hacksaw Ridge is not a film for the feint-hearted. Right away the opening scenes portray the horror of war, and the emotional journey is only beginning as the audience is led through the story of war-hero Desmond Doss. One of the great feats of storytelling from Mel Gibson (director) and Andrew Garfield (leading role, Desmond Doss) is to lead the audience along Doss' journey with a feeling of having experienced the journey as Doss, and experiencing the wide range of emotions endured by this heroic character along his journey.

Neither war itself nor violence are glorified in the film, yet they also not derided. The elements of conflict that draw the storyteller – the heroism of overcoming adversity, the bonding of soldiers, and the brave resolve on which soldiers must rely to perform their duty amidst such chaos and terror – these elements are all present, but they placed alongside the horror, the madness and the terror of war, and used to draw in the audience for Doss' journey. The lasting psychological impact for those who survive conflict is well told by Hugo Weaving's portrayal of Doss' father, whose lines could serve as a mouthpiece for many veterans.

The supporting roles add depth, with both script and performance making very few, if any, of the supporting characters two dimensional. Vince Vaughn's excellent turn as Doss' training sergeant provides both humour and pathos to bring laughs and pause- for-thought at well scripted points of the tale, allowing the audience to gather their breath.

By the end of the film, audience members will leave the cinema feeling tired, worn out by having experienced Doss' journey of hope, innocence, love, confusion, anger, faith, and courage. Hacksaw Ridge is in no way a popcorn-lazy-Sunday-afternoon film; it is a journey.
274 out of 407 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Mel Gibson sure has a lot of family members on IMDb
redrobin62-321-20731125 November 2016
Did I see the same movie as everyone else? An 8.2 rating for this holier than thou, self righteous yawnfest? Movies like these make Slaughtered Vomit Dolls look like Oscar material. Never in my life have I ever seen a movie as manipulative as this nonsense. Flooded with scenes that could make a grown man hurl, this unrealistic claptrap of a film is only worth viewing once, and of course, that's for the intense and magnificently- rendered violence you can always count on Brother Mel to produce.

I guess there were just too many scenes that were pilfered from other movies that made me groan. The influence of Saving Private Ryan, Thin Red Line, and especially, Full Metal Jacket, were WAY too obvious. Would it have killed Brother Mel to not portray the Japanese as one-dimensional, blood thirsty conquistadors? Left a bad taste in my mouth. Hacksaw Ridge. Sigh. A film only Donald Trump supporters could love.
50 out of 109 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed