Controversial films have always been interesting for me. Especially the ones that people discuss, if the films are told in a truthful way, or simply becomes fiction. One of the films i am thinking about, is the 2004 film called The Passion Of The Christ. The drama film, directed by Mel Gibson, became an enormous box office success. But it also had critics from all corners, who either praised the film, or said that it was not correct, from a historical perspective. I remember seeing the film in a theatre, and i was surprised how brutal it was. Especially the scenes where they whip Jesus, until his body is completely torn up. I remember reading that some people left the cinema, because it was just too much for them to see. I personally felt that it was necessary to show a different picture, of this biblical story. Some films have been made very soft, and i doubt that people back in those days, were soft and cuddled with ( what they considered to be ) criminals. Director Mel Gibson really made a powerful film, and he knew that the film would be controversial. We all know Mel Gibson from his acting career, but i think he really proved his talent to direct films, even with his first directorial debut The Man Without A Face. After the enormous success with The Passion Of The Christ, Mel Gibson decided to direct his next film called Apocalypto. The film tells the story of the Mayan civilization, around the year 1511. I have to say this is one of my favourite films, from the films that Mel Gibson have directed. It is really well made, beautifully filmed, and the acting holds very high quality. I would say that Braveheart is Mel Gibsons greatest film so far, as an director, but Apocalypto is pretty close to that top. After a couple of controversial years for Mel, he came back into acting again, with Edge Of Darkness. A film that may not have been a huge box office success, but i still feel this was a great comeback. Last year i enjoyed his film Blood Father, and it was nice to see him try doing a classic action film. When i read about his upcoming film Hacksaw Ridge, and that he was directing again, i was of course curious about the project. Especially that this was based on the true story of soldier Desmond Doss, who served as a combat medic in World War II. I also liked the fact that actor Andrew Garfield was cast in the lead role, i really love his film Boy A, one of the best british drama films in many years. With a great director, and a really good actor combined, i just had to see if this would work out to be a perfect combination. Is Hacksaw Ridge one of the best World War II films in many years, or did it all look too good to be true ?
Desmond Doss ( Andrew Garfield ) is a young man, who tries to live a life of kindness, and care for other people. One day, while helping his local church, Desmond saves a man, who is injured on the street. At the hospital, Desmond meet nurse Dorothy Schutte ( Teresa Palmer ), they begin dating and eventually become a couple. When the majority of town, including his brother Harold " Hal " Doss ( Nathaniel Buzolic ), are enlisted to fight in World War II, Desmond also want to go there, and help. His father Tom Doss ( Hugo Weaving ) is not happy about this, he does not want his sons killed in war, because he knows what he experinenced, while he was away fighting in World War I. Desmond manage to become a combat medic. But when he begin to refuse, not to use a gun, or to wear a gun, Sergeant Howell ( Vince Vaughn ) tries to warn Desmond, that this will cause very big problems. Eventually the soldiers in Desmond´s group, begin to use violence, towards Desmond, so he wants to leave. But Desmond stays strong to what he believe, killing another person is against his faith. Will Desmond survive this war, or is this about to become even worse ?
I know that Hacksaw Ridge is seen as a christian film, but i would rather see this film in a different way, from a humanity perspective. The way a war changes us all, and how far we are willing to go, no matter what happens. And this is where the story of Desmond Doss becomes interesting, how he managed to survive a war, refusing to use guns. Was it just faith that made him take a stand, or was it also that he did not see killing as an option ? You get to understand his personality pretty much, by the really well made portrait, done by actor Andrew Garfield. He was a really good choice to be in this lead role, and he knows how to develope characters. He feels both natural, and also manage to make us feel interested in his character personal issues. Another actor who really makes a good performance, is legendary actor Hugo Weaving. The scenes where he gets to show his Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde sides, give this film a stronger impact. I also feel that Teresa Palmer is a good choice, as Desmon´s wife Dorthy. Also very nice to see Vince Vaughn do a very different role in this film, he actually does a better peformance here, than in most of his films in recent years. Now, there are some really well made war scenes here, and this is where Hacksaw Ridge lifts up, to become a powerful and emotional war movie. This is where director Mel Gibson makes this film work really well. But when he switches over to a much softer tone, and make some really sentimental scenes, we have a problem. I don´t mind dialogue, or emotions on screen, but if it becomes too sentimental, i can´t really feel myself connecting. If you are going to make scenes feel emotional, make it much more raw, darker, just throw out the pain that is ready to explode. If director Mel Gibson would have shown more of this from Desmond Doss, we might have had an even better film. With this said, i think Hacksaw Ridge manage to tell a fascinating story, about a man who takes a stand, what he believe is right. There are some scenes that are difficult not to react to, where he is beaten down, because he is considered to be different, and a traitor. I think one thing this film teach us all, that we should believe in anything we want to, as long as we know some people will not accept this. Hacksaw Ridge is not a classic in war films, or a film that might affect our minds, like Saving Private Ryan did, but this is still a well made film with a very important message. Well done Andrew Garfield, you did it again, delivering another strong performance. I hope we get to see him doing a british film in the future, i know he have so much more to give us. Until then, i suggest you give this film a chance, especially if you are interested in historical stories.