Entertainment, Lifestyle, Review

Film Review: Hacksaw Ridge

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By Thomas Rushton

Based on the life of pacifist soldier Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) from Virginia, who constantly insisted on being allowed to be on the front line without a weapon during World War II, Hacksaw Ridge is a film that really pulls on a person’s heartstrings.

Conscientious objector Doss strongly disagreed with the use of weaponry due to a childhood event that scarred him for life. His attempt to redeem himself from this event was vowing to never use a weapon and become a medic in order to save lives. Known as the comeback film for director Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge received six Oscar nominations, including one for best director.

The plot begins with lead character Doss meeting his dream wife Dorothy, who is a nurse. They meet at the hospital Dorothy works at after Doss comes to the rescue of a local mechanic, whose leg became trapped under a car he was working on. The film soon takes a fast turn, as Desmond breaks the news to his new wife that he has signed up to the military. Shortly after, he is on his way to what he is yet to know: a lengthy struggle with militarily bosses to be allowed to serve without a firearm.

As each scene goes by, you cant help but be swayed by Doss’ determination and, excuse the pun, the fact that he is sticking to his guns. I went from rolling my eyes at him to thinking ‘good for you!’

Rather than the entire film being revolved around Doss and his journey, Gibson manages to give each individual character their own personality, which you come to love and remember. From start to finish, you witness Desmond create relationships with each character and see them develop.

A known face in Hacksaw Ridge is Vince Vaughn, who is often renowned for his same character syndrome in every film he shoots. However, his role here pleasantly surprised me. He begins as the lieutenant whose attitude I can only describe as repulsive but ends appreciative when Desmond assists him in a life or death situation on the front line.

You can’t help but have a smug smile on your face on Desmond’s behalf in the final few scenes in Okinawa. Desmond in total saved 75 lives, including those of some Japanese soldiers. Considering the military establishment used a number of techniques to have him quit, including punishing the whole squad, resulting in Desmond being beat up, it is Desmond who ends up the most respected.

The best thing about the entire film is that it is based on a true story. Gibson manages to display Doss’ heroic acts in the most extreme way, the gore of the film giving viewers a real insight into what actually would have been taking place. The chaos and fast pace of the film managed to portray a grim subject matter in a propitious light.










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