I saw quite a few good movies this week: Moonlight, Swiss Army Man (both of which I’ll have reviews up for soon), The Edge of Seventeen (my review for that is here), but the one film that outshines all of those combined was Mel Gibson‘s Hacksaw Ridge. This film had me on the verge of tears for 2 straight hours, and Andrew Garfield easily takes my vote for Best Actor of 2016. The next few paragraphs will be a brief excerpt from my full review, which you can read instead right here.
Hacksaw Ridge is the most recent directorial effort from the Academy Award winning director, following his popular and praised Apocalypto. This film stars Andrew Garfield as Desmond Doss- a young man living in Virginia when WWII stars. As a kid, he realized the capacity of evil that man has when he accidentally hurts his brother with a brick- and nearly kills him. Because of this, he hates violence, and later promises his God that he will never even touch a gun. However, with his strong morality and passion for doing good and helping others, he enlists to join the army and fight in the war… becoming one of the greatest soldiers that the world has ever seen, without ever firing a single bullet. This may sound strange, but this is my new favorite superhero movie (haha), I mean Desmond Doss saved more lives than Superman, and is a better character than any of the desperately flawed heroes in DC/Marvel films. This aspect of the film is partly what made it so unique and interesting to me; we see so many war films with battle sequences, but never like this, and never with a hero like Desmond. There are aspects of this film that are borderline horror because of how scary they are, and having a character that we love so much who puts himself in these situations makes this very difficult to watch at times.
One aspect of the film that hooked me immediately was the love story. Andrew Garfield and Teresa Palmer had undeniable chemistry, and although I wish I could have seen more of them together (especially at the end), I was blown away by what I DID see, and I could only ask for more of them together. Doss’ relationship with his family was slightly more complicated, but just as impressively handled. My favorite part of the film was how real everything felt- I have not fought in the military because I do not support the killing of others, but I did feel like I was right there with the characters at all times during the fighting. There were many, many intense moments that kept me on the edge of my seat when Desmond was running from soldier to soldier, dodging bullets and risking his life over and over again just to save theirs. It’s really a beautiful film in this way, and as this movie puts you right in the action, it also puts you right in the drama, and the romance, and the laughs… and because of all that, I was on the edge of tears for the majority of the run time. I never checked the time on my phone, and I never got bored or tired. If you want a film that will keep you hooked until the closing credits- this is the film for you.
Overall, this film is an absolute-must see, and it doesn’t do a single thing that I didn’t love- I can only ask for more from the movie of what it already gave us. Hacksaw Ridge is easily my favorite film of the year up to this point, and I cannot wait to see what this film does for Mel Gibson’s career, and Andrew Garfield’s as well. If you have not seen this film, please rush out to see it as soon as you get the chance, because it is an experience worth every penny. I’m going to give this film a 10/10, and a gold recommendation, and I cannot wait to watch it again. As always, thank you so much for reading, and let me know what you think about this film! I’ll see you soon!