Film Review #1: Hacksaw Ridge (A True Story)

Film Title: Hacksaw Ridge
Director: Mel Gibson (Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ)
Screenwriter: Robert Schenkkan, Andrew Knight
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths, Vince Vaughn
Production Studio: Summit Entertainment (Lionsgate)
MPAA Rating: R (for intense prolonged realistically graphic sequences of war violence including grisly bloody images)
Release Date: November 4, 2016
Running Time: 2 Hours 19 Minutes
Genres: Action, Drama, History, War

To refuse to carry a weapon into battle is seen to be one of the most shameful ideologies that a man can have in the eyes of the US Military. To be ridiculed and mocked and even punished by your fellow American brethren. To be threatened to be thrown into prison for denying direct orders. To be seen as worthless and just an extra body waiting to fall in the act of battle. To be thrown into the middle of the third deadliest battle in American history without a single weapon to defend yourself. All this, to emerge as a Hero.

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~Story 10/10~
Hacksaw Ridge is a movie based on a true story of a young man, named Desmond Doss, who decided to enlist (in actuality he was drafted) into the army during World War II yet refused to even touch a weapon. Due to Doss’ personal belief of not carrying a weapon, he ends up being ridiculed by the US army during Basic Training and was even threatened to become a prisoner of war. However, in the end, it is decided that he will be partaking in the Battle of Okinawa where he served as a medic on the battlefield alongside his fellow Americans, with the exception of being armed with a weapon in turn for a set of bandages and little packages of morphine. Defying all odds and direct orders, Doss remains at the top of the ridge where in turn he decides to stay up top checking each and everybody for signs of life and his persistence to save as many lives as he possibly could by lowering them one by one down the ridge with a single rope. Desmond Doss saved the lives of 78 American men, in turn, he became the first “Conscientious Objector” (a person who refuses to carry a firearm) ever to be awarded the highest honor an American serviceman could be presented with… The Medal of Honor.

While watching the film I felt proud, fearful, exhilarated, blissful, and a never-ending list of other emotion.

~Characters 9/10~
Andrew Garfield’s accurate portrayal of Private Desmond Doss is one that should be applauded. I will say that this role for Garfield is without a doubt his greatest performance in his entire career. I would even be willing to say that it is worthy of getting a nomination for the Oscars.

Vince Vaughn has always been known as a comedic actor so you could say that I was a little surprised to see him playing a role in a serious film such as this. Luckily he was perfect for the role. Acting as the platoon’s sergeant during Basic Training and on the field. Vaughn’s portrayal of Sergeant Howell was frightening from time to time and other times he can be inspiring. My only problem with his character is that I wish I could have seen more from him.

Teresa Palmer playing Dorothy Schutte was a good portrayal of the role for the scenes that she was in, but all I had to say is… Damn is she hot. Doss sure did marry up with this gem of a girl, and to think he met her while giving blood at a hospital.

All and all, there is not one bad thing that I could say about any of the performances in this film. By the way… the only reason why I commented on Teresa Palmer’s performance is because she is hot.

~Music 7/10~
The soundtrack in this film perfectly set the mood that the director was going for. It fit perfectly with each and every scene in the film, blending in a mix of either serenity or terror with each track provided. My only major issue with the soundtrack, however, is the mere fact in how none of the tracks are ones that will be remembered even the next day after listening to it. Other than that, the soundtrack was perfectly well composed and integrated with each and every scene in the film.

~Costume & Makeup Design 10/10~
The costume design of the film is extremely accurate to what the time period held. The differences in military uniforms between one that was a part of the WWI era versus the WWII era is duly noted and appreciated. The detailed difference between every single uniform in the movie having all sorts of different medals that all represent something different from one another things and the distinction between different status in the army is also appreciated.

As for the makeup used in the film… oh boy… where to start… The vast contrasting differences between the bright and cheery makeup that is used on the nurses at the beginning of the movie compared to the muddy and scratched up makeup used during basic training versus the extreme amount of blood, scars, and entire limbs being ripped off or even dangling there with guts everywhere on the battlefield. To say that the makeup used in the film is “impressive” would be an extreme understatement.

~Cinematography 10/10~
I applaud the wide range of different sorts of camera angles that Mel Gibson incorporated into this film. Using anything from a slow pan of the grassy fields of Alabama to a low angle and first person shot of the Japanese looming over top of the Americans during battle, to the shaky cam-incorporated during the midst of battle

The stark contrast between the light and cheerful pallet that Gibson used in the film compared to when he used a dark and gritty color pallet during the acts of war is one thing that I believe most people may have never even noticed but I believe is a transition so smooth and seamless that I believe it should be applauded.

~Final Thoughts~
To be completely honest with you all, I was always interested in watching this film since I first heard about it a few months ago but never thought I would be given the chance to go see it in theaters since I rarely ever go to the movie theater. However, earlier this week, I along with a few high school friends of mine decided to go see the film last minute in theaters. As for the film itself? I would say that stating how I thoroughly enjoyed the film would be considered an understatement. From the first moment of the film to the very last, I felt as if I was a part of the film…as if I was there in real life. At first, I was concerned about walking into this movie fearful of myself picturing Andrew Garfield as Spiderman and not Desmond Doss, thankfully this was not the case.

I would also leave a quick mention to the fact of how Director Mel Gibson included Desmond Doss’ faith in god to be a prominent part of the film, which was the one and only wishes that the real life Doss wished to be included in the film.

I recommend everyone who is able to stomach the extreme amount of violence to see this film, it is one that I will never forget and is a story that I believe the world should know about. Please go see this film in theaters right now if you have the wallet for it, I can not stress how much I recommend this movie. I can not think of a better word to describe this movie than… “Masterpiece”. The film is truly a 10/10 across the board. Go watch it now!

~Similar Movie Recommendations~
American Sniper, Braveheart, Full Metal Jacket, Letters From Iwo Jima, Saving Private Ryan, & The Conscientious Objector (Documentary)

~Upcoming Review~
It’s been awhile since I last wrote a post or even more specifically a review on this blog and to those of you who are reading this, I am sorry. The absence of reviews have been due to a lack of time and motivation towards writing. I have started writing a few posts in the past but they ended up being unfinished. I hope to have my next review come out be on the recently famous anime music video of Porter Robinson’s “Shelter”. The other review that I hope on finishing and release sometime in the month of December is of the 1997 animated movie “The Dog of Flanders”.

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34 Comments Add yours

  1. Matthew says:

    Awesome review! At first I was wondering how will Andrew Garfield’s character will work in this movie after what happened to The Amazing Spider-Man but in this film, he was perfect. This movie is truly a masterpiece and I recommend it. This movie made me more appreciate WWII veterans and I am honored to be living in the US.
    I seen American Sniper and I thought it was pretty good.

    Desmond Doss’s faith in God was more powerful than a weapon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You should definitely go check out Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan starring Tom Hanks. Which is about the invasion of normandy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Matthew says:

        I missed the beginning of the film, but I saw the climax of the movie on TV. It was awesome. I actually have the movie on DVD. Hopefully if I get time, I will watch it. Thanks for the recommendation. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Every movie i mentioned in that recommendations section is great. Everything except Brave Heart & Concientious objector are about wars that americans have fought in. Braveheart was mentioned because it is by the same director of hacksaw ridge, and conientious objector is a documentary about desmond doss.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Matthew says:

        I hear those movies were really good. I did hear that Mel Gibson was in Brave Heart. I hear he will be directing a movie that takes place after the Passion of the Christ. It will focus on the disciples.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Mel Gibson starred in it and directed it, all while having it being a best picture winner at the oscars in 1995.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Matthew says:

        Wow that’s amazing. He is one remarkable director and actor.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I normally don’t care much for these historical war movies, but this, wow, this is intense. And it’s so new?! I’ve never even heard of this film! I totally feel you on the blogging motivation side of things. It feels like ages since I last left a comment so thanks for redirecting me here. Also, can’t wait to see your thoughts on Shelter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it is a collection of multiple things that resulted in my long absence. The reason why I was able to find time now was because I was on a two hour plane ride and had nothing better to do, so i decided to finally finish it up.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. heyitszel says:

    I loved this movie! I was in tears half the time. My co-worker teased me saying but it’s a happy ending. I was emotionally because of the mental strength that Doss possessed especially when odds were against him. To be able to have that strong of a belief is incredible! The movie was outstanding. Despite Mel Gibsons’ personal life I think he does amazing work as a director. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes the ending was perfect. And I loved seeing he interviews of the actual people at the very end.

      I personally am also a christian but i could never do something like that let alone even enlist. If i was drafted I would rather be treated as most conciencious objectors of the time and just be locked up during the midst of the war.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I could care less about a few words that Gibson has said in the past, all that matters is the level of quality that all of the movies that he has acted in or directed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. heyitszel says:

        Completely agree with that!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I still remember the one scene of the movie where Doss goes back and forth caring each and every man you could down that ridge “one more man”, such a beautiful part of the movie and was by far one of my favorite scenes from any movie to come out this year.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. heyitszel says:

        Yes! That’s the scene where I got really emotional-that kind of strength you pull out to keep pushing forward. Great stuff! Andrew Garfield was splendid!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I swear if this movie doesnt get a nom for best picture, best directing, best lead actor, or best makeup/wardrobe… I will be so pissed.

        This movie was so great and I hope more people learn of this real gem.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. heyitszel says:

        Yes! I really hope it gets the recognition it deserves! I love war movies and this was a real gem! I had no idea what to expect when my coworker and I went to see this on a random Friday. I was really bummed that that one guy had died. The one that was with him all night in that trench- I half expected him to stay alive!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yeah, a few friends of mine invited me to watch it with them on a saturday night also really last second… But it was so worth it. Went to one of those fancy theaters with reclining chairs.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. heyitszel says:

        LOL OMG that’s exactly what we did and had a beer while we watched. I typically turn my co worker down when she invites me to movies but she wasn’t taking no for an answer that night. She had already bought tickets before she had even asked me! Now we make it a weekly thing since we only work half days on Fridays.:)

        Liked by 1 person

      8. See, the thing is since I am still a high schooler we cant drink. Lmao. So we just bought tickets in advance then hung out at a mall that was literally in the same parking lot as the theater to waste time till the movie started.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. heyitszel says:

        =O …>///< D'oh didn't know that! Sorry! lol well if it makes u feel better I regretted the beer later 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Btw, check out a movie called “Arrival” for the next time you go out. Which looks like a great alien invasion story that actually looks as realistic as possible unlike something stupid like Independence day.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. heyitszel says:

        One of my boss’ was talking about that the other day. My office is full of huge movie buffs…I do really want to see that! Maybe this Friday!

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Dont forget about Rogue One that comes out this week too.

        La La Land looks like pretty great oscar bait, which is some sort of romance musical with ryan gosling and Emma Stone. This movie is by the same guy who directed oscar nominated film “Whiplash” back in 2014 which is such an amazing film that i might make my next movie review be on that if i ever make one.

        Fences also looks pretty good too.

        And there is some weird space love story…thing with Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt called “Passengers” in a few weeks.

        Like

      13. heyitszel says:

        Oh yes, I saw all those previews when I went to see Fantasic Beasts last weekend. La La Land was at the top of my list. And for sure Rogue One is a must see.

        Like

      14. Also go watch whiplash if you havent yet

        Liked by 1 person

      15. heyitszel says:

        i haven’t.but i will same with moana. and laterz! nice talking to you too!

        Liked by 1 person

      16. Alright, i need to head off to bed now. Late dude. Nice talking to you!

        Like

      17. Also I kind of hate how i am on vacation right now, since these same friends invited me to go watch the godfather with them at one of their houses on friday but I am out of town… And i’ve heard so many amazing things about movie.

        Also random comment but I was watching forrest gump for the first time when i uploaded this post.

        Liked by 1 person

      18. heyitszel says:

        >_< i can't remember if I even watched Godfather and I know that's a sin! It's a classic. I should consider watching that! Forrest Gumpn is also another great film. Tom Hanks actually went to my community college lol probably the only celebrity ever to emerge from it.

        Liked by 1 person

      19. Really??? Fascinating. Should have gotten his autograph before he was famous. Dude is a legend.

        Liked by 1 person

      20. heyitszel says:

        Oh I mean, he graduated years and years before me LOL! I would’ve never met him! I’m not that old! >_< at least 20 years before my time at the very least!! I didn't know he went to my community college until he posted a photo of himself in front of it one year on social media! I only knew he was from the San Francisco Bay Area.

        Liked by 1 person

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