Hacksaw Ridge is without doubt one of the best true stories of World War II captured on film. The raw action scenes aren’t as bloody or shocking as films liked Saving Private Ryan, the way the director, Mel Gibson, captures the horror of war on screen whilst delivering a heart-felt character drama through the eyes of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) is a great achievement.
This incredible story about Desmond facing adversary from his fellow soldiers, superiors and the entire army by refusing to carry a gun while serving as a combat medic in Okinawa, is beautifully captured in this action drama where Desmond single-handedly saves 75 people on the front lines, putting his body on the line every step of the way whilst doing so.
The story starts with his childhood and works its way up through his training to the penultimate battle atop the monstrous cliff referred to as Hacksaw Ridge. Its a shame then that Hugo Weaving, who plays Desmond’s father, was overlooked for a Supporting Actor role this year at the Oscars. His outstanding performance is arguably the best in this. That’s not to discredit anyone else, Sgt. Howell (Vince Vaughn) is excellent as well and has really good chemistry alongside Andrew Garfield.
If I could have any gripe with the film it would be the way they handle Desmond leaving the army following the penultimate end to the battle of Hacksaw Ridge. It’s not a necessarily bad ending, it’s fine as it is, but having actually researched the true ending to his service in the army, this would have translated a lot better on film and elevated his hero status to sheer legendary.
Without giving too much away, I strongly recommend researching Desmond’s true story after watching this. It really gives an insight into this incredible performance and the faith he has in God to see him through to the very end.
Hacksaw Ridge is an incredibly powerful war epic with action scenes that dominate half of the film’s 135 minute run time. With a great cast and excellent direction, Hacksaw Ridge is one of the best war films out there and certainly one of the best action titles out this year so far.
Verdict - 8.5/10