review by Bobby Blakey
Mel Gibson’s highly anticipated return to the director’s chair has been one met with mixed results mostly due to the widely publicized issues in his life over the years. Love him or hate him there is no denying that the man knows how to make a movie and now he is finally stepping back into the director’s chair for his new film Hacksaw Ridge featuring a great cast including Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Vince Vaughn, Hugo Weaving, and Teresa Palmer, but does it pack the action and emotional punch to do this heroes story justice or will it fail to show his true convictions?
Hacksaw Ridge follows WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people and becomes the first Conscientious Objector in American history to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Going into this film I was curious to how much story they were going to give us regarding Desmond Doss’s life prior to the war. Often times they either give too much or too little for the story they are actually telling, but here every moment is necessary to not only know who he is as a man, but why he is so strong in his convictions. The first half of the story is all about his life and growing love that coupled with the period piece visuals makes it something really special. Garfield fully embraces the role from the first frame he appears and manages to bring a wide range of emotions and depth to the role. This is easily his best performance to date and he carries the burden of the entire film on his shoulders to perfection. The rest of the cast do a great job as well with Hugo Weaving offering up one of the other most complex characters despite not having as much screen time. His role as Desmond’s father is extremely important to this man’s journey and is handled perfectly.
One of the most surprising of the entire cast is that of Vince Vaughn. I love him in comedy, but love that he has been taking on some different types of roles lately and while they haven’t all worked this one surely does. He brings that perfect smart ass approach to the role that offers up some great moments that are both humorous and important the keep the movie moving forward as it prepares for the battlefield. Gibson may not have made a film in years, but he hasn’t lost a step. When the film finally gets to the war itself it smacks you in the head and never lets up. There is an intense visual nature showcasing the horrors of war through death and mayhem that will no doubt be hard to watch for some. Don’t let the story of a man who doesn’t want to kill fool you, there is an intense level of death and gore here that reminds you of not only what you are dealing with, but also the extreme nature of everything going on around him making what he accomplished all the more amazing.
He has crafted not only the perfect character piece on the amazing life and accomplishments of Desmond Doss, but easily one of the most memorable and realistic war films in some time. This film will not only tug at your heart, but have you cringing with the pain and suffering brought throughout both physically and emotionally. Gibson and the cast have crafted the perfect film to honor a man larger than the war itself as well as send an important message regarding the destructive nature of war and the power of principals which in this day and age seems to be a shorter supply with those that lead us. If nothing else I hope this film opens people’s eyes and give s them hope in the human spirit all while getting to see the story of a true American Hero.
In addition to the film this release also includes deleted scenes, a Veterans Day Greeting with Mel Gibson and “The Soul of War: Making Hacksaw Ridge” Documentary. Step onto the field of battle like never before when Hacksaw Ridge comes to 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on February 21st from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.