I was thinking if I should start my review detailing how Mel Gibson once threatened the mother of his child. “The way you dress, will get you raped by a pack of niggers” he said. But you know what, fuck it. How many years has it been? Seven? This man has paid his dues. It’s time for us to move on and focus on what an extraordinary filmmaker Mel Gibson truly is.
Hacksaw Ridge is based on a true story about a young army medic named Desmond Doss, who served in the US military during the battle of Okinawa. Because of his religious beliefs, he refused to carry a weapon, nor kill anybody, even if it’s to protect himself. Guys, this is an emotionally trudging journey. I’m not going to lie. I frequently find myself crying at the movies. I cried during the final scene of La La Land, I cried watching Moana, and who can forget this scene:
Hacksaw Ridge is different. I’m not talking about one particular moment in the movie that everything leads up to, and BOOM *cue tears*. I’m talking about feeling constant pain throughout this story, that by the end of it you’re exhausted and emotionally destroyed. Hacksaw Ridge isn’t melodramatic nor is it emotionally manipulative, though. Nothing in this movie feels sensationalized. It is realistic, gritty and often times, uncomfortable to watch.
Maybe I’m just saying this because the movie is still fresh in my mind. But as of right now, this is favourite war movie of all time. Yes, I’ve watched Saving Private Ryan. Great movie. This is better. They say Mel Gibson is crazy. I believe them. Einstein was crazy, so was Beethoven. I think you’ve got to be a little bit crazy to make movies like Braveheart and Apocalypto. He didn’t hold back then, he doesn’t hold back here either.
I’m sure most people will love this film. It’s nominated for a best picture Oscar after all. But I think, one of the reasons why Hacksaw Ridge isn’t a front runner to win (besides, Mel Gibson’s personal issues) is because this is a polarizing movie. Here’s a director who isn’t afraid to make a movie that pushes the envelope and tackle sensitive issues. First of all, this movie contains some heavy Christian themes. But, not once does it preach. It doesn’t tell the audience that Christianity is the right way. It doesn’t tell the audience that everyone should start reading the Bible. It just so happens that the lead character is a strong believer.
This movie is violent. But it’s not violent for the sake of violence. There isn’t a single point in this movie where I thought, “Oh, Gibson is celebrating violence.” Quite the opposite, in fact. Hacksaw Ridge highlights the horrors of war and shows you the reality of violence. It is fucking scary. The war sequences are thrilling. There are scenes that caused me to squirm and turn away. And then it gets even scarier. I could literally hear my balls scream, “Screw this! Goodbye Dedpewl,” before shrinking to the size of peanuts. Even when the characters are asleep, I was at the edge of my seat. This isn’t a horror movie, but it’s scarier than most horror movies that I’ve seen in the past decade. What Mel Gibson does here is remarkable.
Perhaps what’s even more remarkable is the writing of these characters. I’m not a religious guy, myself, so maybe that’s why I couldn’t relate to Desmond Doss – played by Andrew Garfield, in his best performance to date. But I think most religious people wouldn’t be able to relate, nor do what he does, either. Desmond Doss is a staunch Christian, and because of his strong Christian beliefs – Thou shall not kill – he refuses to carry a rifle onto the battlefield. “It’s not murder if it’s during war,” his superiors tell him. He doesn’t care. He insists on serving in the military, on the battlefield, as a medic, without carrying a gun with him for protection.
His superiors think he’s crazy. His peers think he’s crazy. I think he’s barking mad, too. BUT, I understand him. I understand his motivations. I understand why he’s the way he is. It is not easy to write a character, a protagonist especially, that is difficult to relate to, but yet we’re able to understand him, respect his decisions and root for him every step of the way. Now, that’s what you call good writing! Bravo, scriptwriters Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight.
The standout performance in this movie is definitely Hugo Weaving, though. Here, Weaving plays Desmond Doss’ father, Tom Doss. When Weaving first appears on screen, my friend turned to me and said, “Agent Smith!” The first thought that popped into my mind was, “Elrond.” I wonder if the couple sitting behind me thought, “V.” My point is, when we think Hugo Weaving, we usually think of his iconic roles in The Matrix, The Lord of the Rings, V for Vendetta or maybe even Captain America: The First Avenger.
Hugo Weaving is a good actor but, holy shit, I did not expect this at all. Here, he replaces glamour with a raw, powerful and a overall transformative performance. Within the first 10 seconds of his appearance, I hated his guts. Tom Doss is a drunk. He slurs his words, and beats his wife. But just like Desmond Doss, he isn’t a one-dimensional character. He’s an asshole, but when one of his sons gets injured, you see the sudden change in his character. Asshole-ness is replaced with panic and concern. And, when both of his sons decide to enlist in the military, it crushes him.
The other characters are amazing too. It’s Teresa Palmer’s best performance to date. It’s Vince Vaughn’s best performance to date. Heck, Mel Gibson is damn good at getting the best out of his actors, that everyone, from the random Japanese extras who run around throwing grenades to the God damn trees, all deserve Oscar nods.
I just remembered something: This movie has humour in it. There are scenes where I had huge belly laughs. I’m not saying that this movie is also a comedy. It’s not. But these are very realistic human characters. And as human beings, sometimes we just say funny shit, even in the most serious of situations.
Something did stick out like a sore thumb, though. The final shot in this movie (pictures below), is a bit of a turnoff.
I get it. It supposed to be a metaphorical floating Jesus-like imagery. It just seems so unnecessary and Hollywoodized for a movie of this quality.
But you know what? Fuck me, man. I’m just nit-picking. Hacksaw Ridge is a brilliantly crafted masterpiece. Warner Bros is currently in talks with Mel Gibson to direct Suicide Squad 2. Do everything you can, Warner Bros. Give him a shit ton of money and suck his dick if you have to. Get this genius on board.
Hey you! Yes you, hot stuff. Like my article? Leave a comment below and let me know whatchu think.
Also, don’t forget to share it with your buds.
If you’d like to read more of my delicious crap (I know you do), be sure to follow this blog.
May the force be with you!