When it comes to war movies as a genre, I rarely find myself getting over excited to head to the cinema anymore, with Hollywood’s over dramatising of events and the fact we see the same thing time and time again taking away from the once standout genre. That said a certain Oscar nominated movie has grabbed my attention through its marketing, with the attachment of a stellar cast and crew, as well as an intriguing source material making Hacksaw Ridge something worth checking out.
Mel Gibson is in the director’s chair for this latest blockbuster war movie, and if you’ve seen any of his prior work, you’ll know that he’s not one to shy away from the subject matter. That remains true with Hacksaw Ridge, as the director gives us something truly magnificent, being far superior to what I was expecting heading in. The thing that stands out the most in Gibson‘s direction is the way he transitions between the different elements, taking us from a sombre, romantic tale to a gritty tale of pride and desperation, finally showing the explosive horrors of this particular wartime event. Not only does this balance allow for a wonderful cinematic experience, but it also allows a layer of realism that far too many war films lack.
Leading the charge in this all-star cast is Andrew Garfield, with the Amazing Spider-Man actor doing a stellar job of telling the tale of Desmond Doss. Not only does Garfield‘s screen presence allow you to engage with his character, but the way the actor balances Doss’ conscientious and religious beliefs allows this movie to stand out from others in it’s genre. Add to this the chemistry that Garfield has with his co-stars and in my opinion he’s most certainly deserving of his Oscar nomination. Garfield isn’t the only actor who deserves praise, however, as whether it’s the usual comical Vince Vaughn (Sergeant Howell), the stern performance of Sam Worthington (Captain Jack Glover), the as ever bold presence of Hugo Weaving (Tom Doss) or the powerful emotion we see from Teresa Palmer (Dorothy Schutte), it’s hard to fault this film for it’s talent.
Despite the majority of this movie being truly sensational, there were a couple of aspects that prevent it from being perfect. The most notable of these is the odd pacing issues that the filmmakers have in telling this tale. As despite the tone being perfect from start to finish, there were some moments that either lagged or felt awkward. Nevertheless the film as a whole was a wonderful cinematic experience and once you add the visual effects and the majestic score from Rupert Gregson-Williams it’s hard to describe this as anything less than must see.
Hacksaw Ridge is a war movie unlike any other, with the bold, realistic storytelling and powerful acting making it a must see movie. It also shows us that it is possible to make a dramatically gripping wartime tale, without neglecting the gritty realities of the tragic events.
(9.5 / 10)