Thursday, 26 January 2017
REVIEW: HACKSAW RIDGE
The Amazing Desmond T. Doss.
139 Minutes. Starring: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Teresa Palmer, Luke Bracey, Rachel Griffiths, Hugo Weaving & Vince Vaughn. Director: Mel Gibson.
Silence is due for all those brave, young men who lost their lives to the violence of war. But lets take a moment to give voice to a man who took no lives in return. The passion of a conscientious objector who ran into the same trenches as his band of brave brothers who fought. But without a fixed bayonet. Or even so much as a clenched fist. A man who wanted to heal and do no harm. A medic who just wanted to save privates and men of honor alike. The bravest heart. The amazing Desmond T. Doss. This is the true story of the real soldier with the genuine heart to save as many souls as he could in the war without firing a single bullet. Some called it cowardice. Now we have the consciousness to wake up to the fact that this might be one of the most heroic stands ever made in history. Because Private Doss may have not battled...but you can be damn sure he went to war. His medal belongs proudly on his chest next to his huge heart. And now an Academy Award may adorn Oscar nominated 'Best Actor', Andrew Garfield. Fresh off his definitive double-acts first part featuring Martin Scorsese's, thirty years in the making, real life religious epic 'Silence', worthy of an honor in itself. That like this when it comes to its central character and hero speaks louder than a volume of a thousand. Right after our director yells action to our new leading man to script these stories and their account of history. And our director in this non-lethal, no weapon thin, red line story? No other but battle hard 'Braveheart' Mel Gibson, who is back in the directors and Academy Awards nominee chair after 'The Passion Of The Christ' and all the controversy that followed. But this is more than redemption. This is respect overdue in honor for a one man revolution.
Diving and bulldozing through the trenches like a wrecking ball that's actually trying to put all the devestation in his path back together, Andrew Garfield is amazing as Desmond T. Doss. A war hero who saved 75 lives and rescued all these wounded men, bringing them back over 'Hacksaw Ridge'...or what may aswell have been Everest, with a rain of bullets, colder and sharper than any ice storm. Now Adam may have not had the best of luck against the Japanese armed with just his Bible of late but the man who brought the real Peter Parker akward shyness out of Marvel's cocky, bravado Spider-Man has really grown up and sensed the type of roles he's meant to play. This actor really is giving his 'best'. Catching the sweet but strong spirit of this Christian who fears no man, but what they can do to each other, Garfield goes beyond the call of duty is saluting Doss who would never let a single man go. Showing the consciousness of this miracle maker in every measure of heart and nuance of soul. From the strings plucked as he falls in love in his life before war, to the strains of inner strength as this skinny kid rappell ropes his men down a cliff face like they were abseiling (it's a good job he knows how to tie a perfect windsor...or brassiere!). In 'Silence' Garfield grew out his hair and beard so much he's make the lord proud. Here in more subtle tones this Dapper Dan, Brylcreem backed, clean shaven look catches the feel and the tone of a young man (even if in real life Desmond looked more like his other co-star Adam Driver) his age in war times, all the way down to the 'yes ma'am' respectful cadence. So much so he has a skip in his step when he's with the women he loves and a spirit in his stride when he's with the brothers he'd lay down and die for...but not kill for.
Gibson knows however that if Doss wasn't lethal, the weapons of war always are and with relentless fury he brings the trench to trench action right to your opened jugular. The violence in 'Hacksaw Ridge' is like a hacksaw to the bones. The horrific and harrowing, war torn bodies and blood in battle echoes 'Braveheart' and the lashings of 'The Passion', but lieing somewhere between his ill-advised 'We Were Soldiers' and the greatest war film of all-time 'Saving Private Ryan', the ultraviolent scenes here bring a jarring realism that wakes you up to what it was really like, no holes barred...and doesn't let you close your eyes to it. You'll lose sleep after this one...but this is war and what it does to people. Best to experience it on screen for what it really was. These are the parts the history books don't show, but pages that need to be turned. These days textbooks don't get the youths attention and recognition...cinder blocks do. Even if some gory moments should be handled more tastefully and respectfully, the style to Mel Gibson's dynamite damaging directing has raw substance of reality meat-grinded into it. A battalion of star power helps too. From a 'Warm Body' next to Garfield in Teresa Palmer's loving loyalty, to the family values of 'Six Feet Under's alive talent Rachel Griffiths and a standout Hugo Weaving. As Mr. Smith and 'Captain America's' World War II Red Skull plays a forlorned and forceful father, cut by the bottle and the loss of his best friends to the very same place his sons are going. Drunk off hate and blame that he's drinking alone to. In the barracks 'Point Break's' star Luke Bracey is on point, having a breakout as a seemingly bracing bunk mate. Whereas former man in everything Sam Worthington shows veteran worth and a wealth of experience that may be paying off in just his best role yet, coming after 5 years ago when he was the 15 minutes. But it's the always likable Vince Vaughn who wears the fullest jacket of metal. After going serious in the as underrated as his perplexing but potent performance second season of 'True Detective', the comedy genius of 'The Wedding Crashers' and 'Old School' and all his classic improv inbetween blends humor with heart. Offsetting real seriousness with comic relief. Drilling and nailing a classic sergeant scene insulted with banter. But through it all. From Gibson's grenade in the hole directing, to Garfield's body over that fire dedication the real hero worthy of honor is Private Doss. He may have never walked a red carpet but a flag will always be raised for this father of selfless heroism. There can be no greater dedication.
See This If You Liked: 'Saving Private Ryan', 'Braveheart', 'Silence'.