WWII American Army medic Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) served during the Battle of Okinawa. He refuses to kill and becomes the first Consciousness Objector to win the Medal of Honor.
Mel Gibson directs Hacksaw Ridge, and I can tell you that he did a phenomenal job behind the camera. These battle scenes are some of the most intense experiences you’ll ever have in the theater. In his absence Mel’s artistic eye hasn’t changed. The action is visceral and mind blowing. He gets a career defining performance out of Andrew Garfield here as well.
I always believed that was the sign of a great director. Are the performances in his film good to great. Every performance here is out of this world. Let’s start at the top. Garfield has never been better. It’s emotionally powerful to watch a man be so steadfast in his beliefs. Doss was literally willing to die for him. Garfield brought every one of those emotions out in his performance and you felt all of them.
The supporting cast is great as well. Like Bracey and Sam Worthington have both taken a lot of heat for bad blockbusters in the past. Mel Gibson gets the best out of both of them, which is telling. Both play the straight man, both have hate for Doss but learn to love him. The eventual brotherhood between Smitty (Bracey) and Doss is turkey beautiful and heartwarming. Vince Vaughn plays Sgt. Howell, another person very skeptical of Doss. Vaughn has some funny one liners which on the outset would be hard to believe in a movie like this. They work well for a change of tone in the film. Hugo Weaving plays Doss’s father who also served. He’s more of the drunk abusive father type. You can tell he has love for his sons in a emotional scene at a family dinner. It was powerful.
Hacksaw Ridge is one of the years best. Will Mel Gibson be recognized for it this awards season? Who knows. Garfield is a lock to be nominated for best lead actor and it’s hard to think of someone other than him that was better this year.