Hacksaw ridge is an emotional flood, Andrew Garfield is simply heroic, and Mel Gibson has created a brutal realisation of the true horrors of war.
Bravery is a difficult matter to assert, purely because it is so subjective. There is no one definition of what an individual can do to be considered brave or courageous, and they are difficult words to brand someone with. One may consider something to be a heroic moment where another considers it normal. Yet Hacksaw Ridge manages to remove any sense of this subjectiveness and places the story of Desmond Doss at the highest of all standings in issues of sheer bravery.
Hacksaw Ridge is the true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), an American soldier sent to fight in the Second World War. The army attempts to oust him for his beliefs as a conscientious objector, but he refuses to leave and insists on playing his part as a combat medic. Eventually, Doss is thrown into the war against the Japanese at Hacksaw Ridge, and displays an incredible showing of true bravery. Over and over again.
The early moments of the film focus on Doss and his girlfriend (Teresa Palmer) as they fall in love in small town Virginia. These moments are what sets the film up for its powerful battle scenes, perhaps in an atypical way. They are in a sense, twee and comical, almost as if the film was split violently into two halves.
There is such a juxtaposition in the film between the pre-war section and the actual battle scenes, which is clearly what director Mel Gibson was looking to implement. The scenes of battle may be gory and brutal but they are made ten fold worse by knowing and falling into the security of a blossoming romance back home.
Hacksaw Ridge is very sharp. There’s a sense of puncturing the unknown and not living in the moment, but making the most of the situation. Garfield’s character is overly naive, which comes through in his home life and comes true in war. He is outrageously brave. His bravery is unrivalled in the naivest of ways, and Garfield fully understand this. He takes the character and makes him real, which is a difficult task with the monumental decisions the man has made. Garfield grounds a character which could easily have floated into an arrogant mess.
The film is beautifully shot and the scenes atop Hacksaw Ridge are horrendously memorable. There are few films that have created the terror of war in such gory detail, without seeming unrealistic and excessive. Hacksaw ridge is an emotional flood, Andrew Garfield is simply heroic, and Mel Gibson has created a brutal realisation of the true horrors of war.