Film Review: Hacksaw Ridge

hacksaw ridge

Mel Gibson’s wartime drama splashes blood and gore over the world’s cinema screens


After achieving box office success and an astonishing 6 Oscar nominations, it felt necessary to throw myself at the mercy of this film and give it a try, and I must say – Hacksaw Ridge does not disappoint!

This adaptation of a true story follows the life and enlisting of Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield), a World War II American army medic, who’s morals and values resulted in his refusal to carry a gun. Doss’s unwavering and commendable actions soon result in a backlash from his peers and superiors when the young soldier is sent to a court martial. There he is accused of not carrying out his duties as a solider. However, when the accusations are dismissed, he becomes the first American soldier to go to war on the front line without a weapon. This he did during the bloodiest battle of WWII, and his bravery led him to single-handily save the lives of 75 men whilst under fire and without any form of defence. This film was both humbling and inspiring in light of its historical context.

In all honesty, the first 30 minutes of this true story appear to drag, whilst it spends its minutes introducing characters and Desmond’s backstory about how he met his wife, but as soon as Doss enlists into the army, the drama is far from disappointing. The audience is at first confused as to why he insists on never holding or using a gun, although as the film progresses it soon becomes clear through flashbacks of his life. Oscar nominee Andrew Garfield portrays the heroic soldier perfectly in this film, holding a steady and believable southern accent throughout the film, mirroring the same accent and acting abilities of his co-star Teresa Palmer, who plays his wife Dorothy Schutte. Their love story is heart-warming and uplifting, especially in scenes where Doss acts as a southern gentlemen attempting to sweep her off her feet before leaving for war. Although the relationship between him and his wife is extremely passionate, the relationship he shares with his fellow soldiers pull the audience’s heart strings. When first introduced, the team of soldiers attempt to torment Dos in order to drive him out of the army, but in time and on the battlefield, their friendships began to blossom and the audience is shown the tear-jerking side to the men who put their lives on the line.

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(Desmond Doss saving one of his fellow soldiers on the battlefield-@HacksawRidgeFBpage)

Gibson’s war scenes were far from shy, screening blood and gore all across the grounds and faces of men, with limbs and various other body parts flying from the soldiers on the front line. It seems that with prayer and faith, Dos manages to protect his limbs just in time to save the 75 men. The film’s sound mixing and effects were glass shattering, with such precision and authenticity it successfully immersed me into the realities of war. It was not a surprise when Hacksaw Ridge won an Oscar for both best Sound Mixing and best Film Editing this year, as undoubtedly, it was truly spectacular.