Mel Gibson’s latest directorial effort is a commendable addition to the war film canon that is unafraid to show the true brutality of battle; just a shame about the misjudged romance.
Hacksaw Ridge is the latest WWII film to grace our cinema screens.
Nominated for six Oscars including Best Picture, Actor and Director, the film tells the true story of army medic Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) who became the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honour without firing a single shot.
Doss’ story is astonishing and it’s surprising that a biographical drama hasn’t already been made about his life.
Thankfully though director Mel Gibson has delivered the superb feature film that Doss’ story deserved.
This is of course a war film, but it’s a war film with a heart of gold.
The battle sequences are raw, savage and gory making the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan appear amiable by comparison.
Gibson throws the audience roughly into the tension filled heat of the battle and in full flow the violence is bruising, shocking and unflinching.
Hacksaw is unafraid to show the true atrocities of war as we witness normal men tear each other to pieces with guns and grenades.
These gritty action sequences allow cinematographer Simon Duggan to come into his own as we become absorbed by his murky battlefields that are covered in mud and guts.
Although the action may be coarse our central character is sensitive, kind and sympathetic giving the film a much needed heart.
Andrew Garfield is just fantastic as Desmond Doss, a hero who never strays from his principles despite what is thrown at him.
Garfield is thoroughly deserving of his Oscar nomination as his always cheery and magnificently brave Doss keeps the audience engaged throughout the whole of the film.
We really care about Doss and it is a nice touch by Gibson to end the film on footage from an interview from the man himself.
The supporting cast all give fine performances too including Vince Vaughn who quite frankly has never been better. He should really give up the crappy comedies and stick to dramas.
Hugo Weaving is excellent as Doss’ father, a man haunted by memories of WWI who has to fight with his own principles when his sons go off to war.
There is one major flaw though and that is the misjudged romantic plotline which is unnecessarily and uncomfortably shoved into the film.
Seriously though, the cheesy love story is more sickening than the blood and guts that we see on the battlefield.
Crappy romance aside, Hacksaw Ridge is a fantastic war film that has both grit and heart. It is worth seeing for the stunning battle sequences alone.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.