Hackshaw Ridge, dir. Mel Gibson, 2016

To begin this blogging adventure I thought we would begin with a film that is so gritty and honest it left me speechless.

My eyes have recently being revealed to the wonders of TV series such as Band of Brothers, The Pacific and films like Fury that have led to me being awakened with a new love for the war genre that are based on true events. Despite a reserved view of Hacksaw Ridge as its directing ensemble goes to Mel Gibson, I was actually very surprised at how much of a great job he did. The story follows an uneducated man whose faith leads him to join the army as a medic. His values are brought into question as he refuses to bare arms, not even in training.

The scripting was crafted beautifully in regards to some brilliant lines by Garfield, however the only little niggle that could be seen in the plot structure is the timeline of events in the first half of the film, which in places, was a little patchy. But, this is where all praise begins for Andrew Garfield, who plays the character of real-life hero Desmond T. Doss. To what seemed like an unusual casting at the start blended into something spectacular. An element of Forest Gump could be seen in his accent, yet after the interview clip at the end of the film with Desmond himself, it washes all these negativities away. Mr Garfield creates an incredible performance throughout the film which mirrors its powerful message of hope and faith.

Visually, Hacksaw Ridge blends the components of the war genre perfectly. Mel Gibson made a wise choice to avoid stereotypically slow-mo sequences  (apart from the once) in order to craft some hard hitting battle scenes. The notion of ‘less is more’ definitely worked in Gibson’s favour. The absence of music throughout these scenes left you with a haunting sound of gun shots and cries, reiterating a sense of chaos and honesty of war. There was no holding back in sudden death, which through the darkness of chaos highlighted how quick a life can be taken from a gun shot. The imminence of death hung over the screen, causing tension and discomfort for the viewer. This makes the film so gritty and honest that you can’t help but praise Gibson on his representation of events.

 

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