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At The Very Center Of It All
littlemartinarocena28 January 2017
We knew already that Mel Gibson is a filmmaker with a powerful vision and the craftsmanship to go with it. Extraordinary battle scenes. Violence, Gibson style, which means Peckinpah plus, because here there is such a personal intention that makes every frame, utterly compelling. The only drawback and I have to say it, Vince Vaughn. Why? In the moment he appears, this extraordinary film becomes a movie. It took me completely out of it. When you look at him you see an actor, acting. On the other hand, Andrew Garfield. Sublime. He makes totally believable a character that could be fictional. The humanity in Andrew Garfield's eyes makes everything real. It tells us, in no uncertain terms, that at the very center of it all, there is love. Love!
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Powerful - well acted piece
conan-222 September 2016
As someone from Sydney, Australia I was proud at the way this was filmed. Using the Hollywood model, there would have been lots of sets but using actual buildings allowed a lot of warmth to come through in the natural light. Gibson is a fine director, I was impressed with his framing, he shoots very closely for the acting stuff (more head and shoulder) which is quite interesting on the eye. Using more natural light it is quite beautiful. I suspect Gibson will not yet have been forgiven for his personal life to get the recognition he deserves.

This movie could have been another Forest Gump, it could overly sentimental, instead, carries an appropriate amount of sincerity. The backstory is a major part of the movie. Doss is portrayed as uneasy with the girls who fell for the first pretty thing he saw. This could have been so Forest Gump-like but strikes a nice chord.

The cast was excellent. Hugo Weaving was perfection. He carried the first half of the movie as the battle-fatigued (PTSD) WW1 vet father. Some may complain that the women are poorly portrayed as are the Japanese, who are largely like ants coming from their mound or canon fodder.

As brutal as the second half is, I am sure it could not convey how truly gallant Doss was or brutal it was in reality.
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Welcome back Mr Gibson
bartonj241025 September 2016
When thinking about war films, it's very hard not to go straight to the classics such as Apocalypse Now, Platoon or Saving Private Ryan. You have to make something very special to be mentioned in the same sentence as films like those and in Hacksaw Ridge, I think Mel Gibson has made one of the all time great war films.

Some war films use a particular war from history to tell a fictional story, all three of the above for example however, a war film for me becomes something else entirely when it tells a true story, especially one as remarkable as the story that Hacksaw Ridge is based on.

Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield) became the first Conscientious Objector in American history to be awarded the Medal of Honour even though he refused to kill or even carry a rifle while serving as a medic during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II. Doss' phenomenal story of courage saw him single-handedly save the lives of over 75 of his comrades while under constant enemy fire.

Hacksaw Ridge is very much a film of two halves; the first introducing us to Doss, exploring both his personal life and his motivations for choosing to become a Conscientious Objector and serve as a medic, the second depicting the Battle of Okinawa at Hacksaw Ridge, the site of one of the bravest human feats in history. Both tell the story of the determined individual that Doss was and Mel Gibson does a wonderful job in directing the film.

Gibson has attracted a lot of bad press over the years but there is no denying that he is a good director, and in Hacksaw Ridge, he may just have made his best film yet. It's the emotional power of the story that Gibson taps into so successfully that makes Hacksaw Ridge such compelling viewing, whether it be Doss' arduous journey through combat training or the visceral war sequences. I was an emotional wreck as the credits started to roll.

Speaking of war sequences, Hacksaw Ridge possesses some of the most brutal and harrowing you'll ever see, reminiscent of the opening to Saving Private Ryan. Due to the fact that Doss served as a medic, there are parts where a strong stomach is needed as he obviously has to tend to a number of seriously wounded soldiers. The relentlessness of the sequences is admirable from Gibson and they're wonderfully shot by Simon Duggan.

Coming to the performances, Hacksaw Ridge features an amazing lead performance from Andrew Garfield, who wanted to move away from his days as Spider-Man with a chance to play such an inspiring real life hero. I thought Garfield was always one of the best things about the Amazing Spider-Man films but it's great to see him really grow as an actor. His performance as Doss is one of the best of the year and I would love to see him get some form of recognition come awards season.

The supporting cast threw me a little but they all play their part in excelling the film, expected from the likes of Hugo Weaving and Teresa Palmer but the film surprised me with how good some of the cast were. Sam Worthington and Luke Bracey were two that come to mind but the real surprise was Vince Vaughn, who I never thought I'd see play a part in a war film, particularly that of an Army Sergeant.

Few films this year have hit me emotionally as Hacksaw Ridge did and that's why I have to say it's a most welcome return to filmmaking from Mel Gibson. It's right up there as one of the best films of the year and definitely one to see on the big screen.
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Back on the battlefield with Mel...
mifunesamurai9 October 2016
I was lucky enough to sneak into a cast & crew screening at the Newtown Dendy cinema. I thought 10.30AM on a Sunday was too early for a Mel Gibson movie, that I might be in for something along the lines of the heavy-handedness of THE PASSION OF THE Christ, and the adrenaline pumped brilliance of APOCALYPTO.

I was proved wrong because after the first thirty minutes I wasn't sure if this was a Mel Gibson film when I was placed into a comfort zone, with its melodrama set in a small Virginia town during the Forties, a schmaltzy romance, and the cliché violent drunken father who survived a brutal war. The performances were maybe a little let down by the clumsy dialogue, but all directed safely with a natural sense of storytelling.

By the 2nd act, I was put on high alert in the military training with our protagonist, Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield who I at first felt was wrongly cast, but he really came through in the end). It was here when the true purpose of the story began to evolve, that of Doss' moral and internal conflict with using a gun! What he had to endure and stand-up for was a courage I greatly admired. It was also in this phase of the film that the dialogue and characters began to shine. Maybe it was the introduction of Vince Vaughn's character. We all know how Vaughn is notorious in ad-libbing, and it seemed to help because the other actors bounced off it well.

Now the story had me in their pocket because by the 3rd act I was with our protagonist and his platoon when they got to the battlefield graveyard of Hacksaw Ridge. You thought the horrific situation in WE WERE SOLDIERS was brutal, well this was captured so vividly that you felt you were there. It was almost on par with the brilliance of GAME OF THRONES; BATTLE OF THE BASTARDS.

Now I felt I was in a Mel Gibson film. As with Braveheart, the battle scenes in Hacksaw Ridge didn't hold back. Maybe a notch better because of today's CGI (and I didn't even notice the effects!). The scenes were unflinching, haunting and in your face. Possibly showing you the true horror of war. Definitely not for the squeamish.

The religious aspect of the film was relevant to the story, so as a non-believer I thought it was an integral part of the protagonist and had to be told, so it didn't bother me as much.

Overall the technical aspect of the film was brilliant, but then again I didn't really notice it because I was too distracted by the story and the characters, and when that occurs, I know the film has succeeded.
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Saviour Private Doss
Vladimir-142 November 2016
Just watched this movie at the pre-screening and feel like I owe it to the creators to write a review. Having read other reviews, it is hard to stay original, so first are few thoughts that I shared with the others. Great to have Mel Gibson back in the directors seat. I will be surprised if we don't see this film in a few Oscars categories. Now, few thoughts of my own. The movie depicts brutality of war in gory details, so much so, that I had to turn my eyes away from screen couple of times. However, I do understand why this was important to the story line. It was done so that we could truly appreciate Doss's act of bravery, feel it like we were there and witnessed it firsthand - nothing was left out. The story grabs you from beginning and does not let you off until very end - after the movie I turned back and half of the girls in the theater were still wiping tears. Bottom line - instant classic that will find it's place on the shelf next to the likes of Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers.
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A Raw & Emotional Gut Punch
CalRhys28 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
With its late release over here in England, by the time the film was released, it had already come to prominence with overwhelming reviews and 6 Oscar nominations to its name, so I entered with relatively high expectations, which I generally find to be a bad call as you tend to be let down, however Gibson's first directorial effort in a decade, 'Hacksaw Ridge', is a raw and emotional gut punch.

With the history of cinema being littered with the production of World War II films, primarily in the form of over-the-top propaganda pictures such as 'Saving Private Ryan' (which nonetheless I still love), it's nice to see a movie that delves down the path of anti- war and focuses on the true-life tale of an uncaped superhero over fictional splendour, and 'Hacksaw Ridge' is just that. The film starts with rather over-sentimental, soap opera style tendencies which are occasionally funny to watch, but nonetheless they are perfect at delivering character development to our front-running hero Desmond Doss. I was initially expecting a 'Pearl Harbor' approach, with over an hour of lovey-dovey sentimental crap followed by under-accomplished action, but it was quite the opposite. The opening features the stated character development drama, but gives us an insight into Doss's personal reasons for his faith and religious approaches, then thrusts us into war.

Now, the war scenes... well, let's just say they're some scenes I doubt I'll be forgetting anytime soon. They're epic, they're visceral, they're emotional, they're gory, but above all else, they are executed perfectly. Upon reaching the top of the Maeda Escarpment, nicknamed "Hacksaw Ridge", the squad are instantly driven into the horrors of war, the loss of friends and hope. The raw and visceral images are maybe even a little too realistic. Dead bodies are strewn across the ground, innards and entrails litter the floor, smoke and fire choke the landscape. This is war.

'Hacksaw Ridge' is a hard-hitting film that if watched and truly understood, will be an unforgettable experience, and the concluding interviews with the real-life Doss add to the emotional core. The cinematography is stunning, the music is beautifully alluring and the performances, especially from Andrew Garfield, are beyond fantastic, Garfield completely embodies the persona of Doss with sheer accuracy. Further shoutouts to Hugo Weaving, Sam Worthington and the surprisingly brilliant Vince Vaughn. This is, in my opinion, one of the greatest films to have graced 2016... or 2017 here in the UK! We forgive you Gibson!
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Hacksaw Ridge: an emotional journey alongside the war-hero, Desmond Doss.
gregorysmith-825208 October 2016
Hacksaw Ridge is not a film for the feint-hearted. Right away the opening scenes portray the horror of war, and the emotional journey is only beginning as the audience is led through the story of war-hero Desmond Doss. One of the great feats of storytelling from Mel Gibson (director) and Andrew Garfield (leading role, Desmond Doss) is to lead the audience along Doss' journey with a feeling of having experienced the journey as Doss, and experiencing the wide range of emotions endured by this heroic character along his journey.

Neither war itself nor violence are glorified in the film, yet they also not derided. The elements of conflict that draw the storyteller – the heroism of overcoming adversity, the bonding of soldiers, and the brave resolve on which soldiers must rely to perform their duty amidst such chaos and terror – these elements are all present, but they placed alongside the horror, the madness and the terror of war, and used to draw in the audience for Doss' journey. The lasting psychological impact for those who survive conflict is well told by Hugo Weaving's portrayal of Doss' father, whose lines could serve as a mouthpiece for many veterans.

The supporting roles add depth, with both script and performance making very few, if any, of the supporting characters two dimensional. Vince Vaughn's excellent turn as Doss' training sergeant provides both humour and pathos to bring laughs and pause- for-thought at well scripted points of the tale, allowing the audience to gather their breath.

By the end of the film, audience members will leave the cinema feeling tired, worn out by having experienced Doss' journey of hope, innocence, love, confusion, anger, faith, and courage. Hacksaw Ridge is in no way a popcorn-lazy-Sunday-afternoon film; it is a journey.
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A film that is as courageous as its subject and as violent as the war it portrays.
trublu21513 September 2016
Hacksaw Ridge is the latest film from the infamous Mel Gibson and it is as electrifying as one would come to expect. Telling the story of Desmond Doss, an Army medic that refused to carry a weapon through the hell fire of battle in Okinawa at the height of World War II. The untold story of Doss is one that is of the finer war hero stories that anyone could tell. Starring Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington and Teresa Palmer, Hacksaw Ridge is a beautifully acted and viciously portrayed war film that will stick with you from the minute the film starts until the second the end credits start. It will leave you clawing your seat, wiping away the sweat from your palms as we see Garfield's Doss save as many lives as he possibly can while dodging bullets and hand grenades. The film starts in the most somber of times in American history, the second world war. Desmond Doss, the son of a PTSD-riddled alcoholic Army man (Hugo Weaving) who served in World War I, is also as much as a devout Christian as he is a patriot, leading him to join the fight against the oppressive Japanese military. Doss is in love with a small town girl Dorothy Schutte (Teresa Palmer) who is scared that she'll never see Doss again, especially after the persecution he is sure to face. When in training camp, Doss refuses to touch a gun and is actually court marshaled for his refusal. This leads to a trial in which he is allowed by his superior officers to go into Okinawa with no fire arm to protect him. Much of the film is steeped in realism, something that Mel Gibson specializes in when it comes to violence. While the story and plot line may sound very traditional, the way it is portrayed is a fresh burst of life into a tired genre such as this. That, coupled with the amazing true-life story of Desmond Doss being portrayed on screen, makes Hacksaw Ridge a wild and brutal trip down the path to Christianity and the power that faith can give a man. Gibson, a devout Catholic himself, would be the director to bring this story to life. His religious views seep through his very being, especially through his films and this film is no exception. The film settles in the idea that God is literally protecting Doss, not only physically but spiritually as well. Doss is constantly tested throughout the film, almost needing to take a life (which is the ultimate sin to him) in many scenes. The fact that this man did not fire a single round and saved as many men as he did is astounding and the film really does an amazing job at showing the harsh realities of war but also showing the good that can be brought out in a man through his faith. The film itself, is one of Gibson's less preachy works which makes it more accessible. Even if faith-based films are not your thing, you can appreciate the craft that went into making this film. Hacksaw Ridge displays war as atrocious as it truly is. There is blood, there is gore and there are a couple wounds that will cut even the strongest of men down. This is an extremely violent film but it is extremely violent in the sense that there is enough going on around us to never make us truly settle in the violence which would take away a lot of the impact that Gibson is trying to portray. The film is paced very nicely and does feel more like a traditional war film without it really being the traditional World War II film. The filmmaking is traditional but the story is unique and is definitely the driving force to run out and see this film. The performance from Andrew Garfield is amazing. He sheds any sort of preconceived notion and really embodies the roll of Doss quite well. He is far from a revelation but he is on the right track in delivering a very fine performance. The screenplay is tight and taught. Like I said, there are scenes that are heart pounding in this film. Personally, I found myself holding my breath during some of the action sequences. It was THAT intense at parts. While I do have great things to say about this film, I will say, I was a bit disappointed in the performances all around. While I thought Garfield did an amazing job carrying a film that was not Spider-Man, I wish he was a little better. I felt the same way with the rest of the cast. The melodrama that is portrayed very early on in the film is something that does begin to corrode the realist efforts of everything else. However, once the action starts, so does the really great acting on everyone's parts. Gibson is an actor that revels in the moments of pure chaos and he expects the same thing from his actors. It makes for some intense scenes that are elevated by the pure realism that the actors portray. You actually feel as though you are watching these people go to war. It is a testament to Mel Gibson as a director. He really knows how to put you in the moment and Hacksaw Ridge just solidifies his talent. Overall, I felt Hacksaw Ridge was an extremely brutal and visceral war film that brings up questions of warfare, humanity and religion while displaying Gibson's excellent eye for technical accuracy and assaulting imagery. Say what you will about Gibson as a person but as a director he is sharp, gritty and a master at what he does.
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one of the most violent sensory assaults that can be experienced in a cinema
CineMuseFilms18 October 2016
Good war-films can be very disturbing to watch. The dramatic realism of modern digital effects spares little and many audiences will find Hacksaw Ridge (2016) one of the most violent sensory assaults that can be experienced in a cinema. If it were not a true story that celebrates an unusual hero the film could have been accused of a gratuitous display of unrelenting carnage and military triumphalism.

The film plays in two halves: the early life and romance of Army Medic Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) and the actual Battle of Hacksaw Ridge. Raised in bible best Virginia, Doss had a troubled upbringing under an abusive father. A devout Seventh-day Adventist, he swore never to commit violence or even carry a weapon but felt duty-bound to enlist in the Army. Not long after meeting the one love of his life, nurse Dorothy Schutte (Teresa Palmer), he enlisted with the belief that he could serve his God unarmed and without killing enemy soldiers.

Branded a coward and bullied to leave, he was eventually granted conscientious objector status and became one of the troops sent to capture Hacksaw Ridge in the Battle of Okinawa of May 1945. While the assault was forced to retreat under overwhelming enemy fire, Doss remained behind and single-handedly evacuated 75 casualties, lowering them by rope from an escarpment over 100 metres high. The Ridge was eventually captured and Doss became one of the most decorated heroes of World War II.

The heroism depicted in this story is of such an extraordinary magnitude that it can easily overwhelm any consideration of the film's merits. With an uncomplicated and factual narrative arc, the story rests on two pillars: acting and filming. On both scores, this film deserves high praise. While the early life and romance chapter drifts towards melodrama, Garfield is cast to perfection as the wide-eyed and straight talking man of unshakeable principle and Palmer convincingly plays his adorable emotional anchor. Together with a strong support cast that includes several big-name stars, this is a powerful ensemble that carries the story convincingly.

The most outstanding element of this film, however, is its powerhouse hyper-realistic cinematography and spectacular set constructions that relentlessly convey the brutality of war. While it is an outstanding technical production, giving spectacle precedence over narrative is the film's Achilles Heel. One or maybe a few helmeted heads shredded or bodies bayonetted can convey much, but twenty deadens the senses. If ever there was a case where less could have been more, this is it. Otherwise this is a gripping film with forceful storytelling about a remarkable war hero.
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Superbly crafted screenplay of the Doc
donprosseractor19 October 2016
I was fortunate enough to see an advanced screening of HACKSAW RIDGE in Hollywood and was impressed. The screenplay is authentically-driven to the last detail and portrays the horrors (and prejudices) of wartime conduct. I knew we were watching an epic film when at the conclusion, the audience was stunned so much so that the applause was delayed.

If you consider yourself a true patriot of America, this movie portrays YOUR values in a blessed light. For ONE gentlemen, amidst extremely adverse treatment by his own comrades and even more deadly hated by his enemy to have save SO many men... is simply epic.

I watched the advanced screening with members of the military and faith community alike. At no time did anyone retract from the horrors of war or add asinine political commentary. We all understood that soldiers fight for one another before they fight for a cause and that hatred of war is universal; even among soldiers.
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Autistic Reviewers Opinion Of This Movie.
autisticreviewers17 October 2016
War films can be a bit hard to sit through, with its graphic depictions of key battles in history, strong themes of power, brotherhood and the effect it has among the world but with Mel Gibson's latest war drama 'Hacksaw Ridge' it manages to be something more that we can grasp it.

The true life story of Desmond Doss is finally brought to the big screen, Doss was a US Army medic who served during WWII, but coming from a family with a strong religious beliefs and a father that struggled with the aftermath of WWI (a veteran himself) it lead him to be a Seventh-day Adventist, refusing to bare a firearm and the use of violence against another. His personal choice would affect his country's army and persuaded a court hearing to charge Doss for his personal beliefs and objection to bare arms but despite this, he is given the chance though to fight alongside his 'brothers' in the Battle of Okinawa, a battle which the American forces fought against the invading Japanese in an intense and brutal battle. It is here in this key battle that Doss was recognised as a true hero for his country, as he managed to rescue the lives of 75 soldiers wounded in battle.

Gibson returns to the director's chair to helm this true story, giving his touch of humanistic quality, anti-war themes and brutality to the horrors of war to much great detail. The direction is pretty much on point throughout and never goes dull or loses itself during the 2 ½ running time. The first half of the film is about character and what establishes Doss to become a legend that he is known for, while the 2nd half of the film focuses on his role during the Battle of Okinawa and the brutal battle itself. The violence here is given so much detail, not holding back on the horrors of war and the devastating effect it carried on both sides. The production design, sound mixing, editing and scale of the battle is as intense, horrifying and respectful to the details and real life experiences to what we've read in history books, but it is yet filmed with beautiful and yet brutal detailing that echoes much to Saving Private Ryan's D-Day battle sequence. The 2nd half of the film is much darker than the first half and people will need a strong stomach to handle the graphic depictions of violence and deaths we see throughout, but it does get emotional at times and in the last few minutes of the film, though overall the film is emotional with Doss's back-story, his personal lifestyle and the brotherhood that Doss and his army experience and share on the battlefield.

In terms of acting, the cast as a whole is incredible with Andrew Garfield, Hugo Weaving, Vince Vaughn, Luke Bracey and Teresa Palmer giving the best key performances of the film. Garfield has come a long way to prove himself as a worthy actor, breaking away from his well known role as Spider-Man prior to HR. To describe his role as Doss, he gives a quality that defines him as a simple man with values in his life while facing a few struggles that form his belief of not bearing violence or firearms. Garfield must have given much study and preparation for the role, as his character's journey from a wise simple man to a hero of his army is given so much heart, emotion and bravery to make the journey of Doss so believable.

Overall, Hacksaw Ridge is a film that will leave audiences in state of emotion that describes the horrors of war, the bravery of Doss and his army and a sense of thankfulness to our past ancestors who had lived in a time to fight for freedom and peace when the world was divided. An incredible film that will indeed earn its amount for Oscar nominations and wins in 2017 (possibly for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Production Design, Music Score, Sound Mixing & Editing and Script) alongside other film awards. A must see film if you have studied history at school, have an interest in history or if you love a solid war film that's true to its core. A masterpiece that will not be forgotten so quickly or never will, we both highly recommend it.

5/5 Autistic Reviewers
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Like a Doss!
shelswel18 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
For well over a year now I have been waiting with baited breath to see this movie. I have been a fan of Desmond Doss from a child. Having the privilege of the movie being filmed in my neck of the woods, and even getting to watch some of the scenes being filmed and meeting Mel in the process (ever so briefly), escalated my enthusiasm. When you are that pumped and euphoric, you are usually deflated when the moment finally comes… but not this time.

Although there were a few aspects of the story that were not as accurate as I would have liked, I realize poetic licence is necessary in some ways to give the real essence of the story. And truth can be so much harder to believe then fiction sometimes. Mel managed to portray the man Doss so very well. Some people are worried this is a religious propaganda/anti-gun movie and I assure you that is not the message of it at all. However there is no getting past the truth of who he was and it is the reason the story is so powerful. He was a man with an unmovable moral compass and it doesn't matter if you don't point yours in the same direction, you can't help but respect him for his courage, bravery, and unwavering faith.

The movie starts laying the background of the man that will be the hero of Hacksaw Ridge. It is both witty and endearing. Andrew Garfield nails the roll as the gentle scarecrow of a man. He is a bit gawky and yet charming. His accent is true to the real Desmond, awkward though it is at times. He really draws you into the character and shows you what a fighter he was, non-violent but a fighter just the same. It is well explained what personal experiences have lead him to his discussion to not touch a gun.

Hugo Weaving masterfully plays Desmond's alcoholic dad, battling with his demons from WWI, and Rachel Griffiths plays his devoted Christian mother trying to hold them all together. Teresa Palmer plays Dorothy, a nurse that captures Desmond's heart. Sometimes cheesy, but then again in reality it would have been, and it is very amusing to watch. Teresa's Dorothy is a beautiful and charming addition to the movie.

Vince Vaughn plays the roll of Drill Sergeant Howell. He adds humour with his name calling, and humiliation of the soldiers, but is a very genuine - just a guy trying to win a war and keep his men alive in the process - kind of guy. Luke Bracey is a fantastic addition to the cast as private Smitty, the more traditional war story soldier.

True to his reputation Mel does not hold back with the battle scenes. The devastation is already extensive and the ground strewn with bits of bodies by the time the 77th arrives. The shattering reality of war is dizzying and full of impact, moving so quickly you can barely identify the characters in a whirlwind of panic, pain and death. But amidst the chaos, Desmond Doss's character is revealed to everyone and even his harshest critics realize how wrong they were about him. Watching the story change from having the battalion hate him so much that they try to have him imprisoned, to refusing to go on the battlefield without him, is so moving and inspiring it leaves "It's A Wonderful Life" in the carnage on the hill, getting eaten by maggots along with the dead soldiers Desmond sifts through looking for "one more" soul to save.
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The worst war reenactment I have ever seen
west-918453 February 2017
I saw the movie with a number of friends this evening. Of the 10, 3 of us are combat veterans, with a total of 5 wars between us. (2 Vietnam, 2 Desert Storm and a current war in the Middle East veteran.) All the non-combat veterans thought the battle scenes were "so horribly, so frighteningly realistic." Those who have been to war thought they were incredibly cartoon-ish.

The tactical mistakes such as bunching up, not seeking cover, bodies flying through the air, artillery explosions obviously gasoline, all the ridiculous yelling, were all so blatantly wrong. It was the worst depiction of battle we ever saw.

If the Japanese occupied the top of the "ridge" why didn't they simply cut down the cargo netting the troops climbed? Why didn't they throw grenades down on the assembled Americans below? How did the cargo netting ever get there is US troops didn't already occupy the top of the mountain?

Vince Vaughn was the Basic Training sergeant, again, best described as cartoon-ish. Peter Sellers as Inspector Cleuseau would have been more realistic.

Quite frankly, there is nowhere enough space here to tell you how bad this movie really is.

In reality, battle is hell, in some ways worse than what was shown on the screen, but in terms of realism, this movie is atrocious.
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Comic book reality. They deserved better...
art-miller5 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Although we have only just nudged our way into February I nominate this as a contender for Worst Film of 2017. It might even win.

This is a film of two halves. In fact the transition between one and the other is so abrupt that you could be forgiven for thinking you are watching two different films. The first half is comprised of two acts.

Act 1 sees us in Disneyland with a saccharine sweet love story told as only the Americans can do with a plethora of sickly smiles, gleaming perfect white teeth, pretty pastel colours and every damn country boy and country girl cliché in the teenage book of dreamy heart fluttering romance.

Act 2 Army training camp. New wet behind the ears recruits and a sergeant major set on making men of them. Familiar territory. You know the score: the recruits will be wheeled out fully formed and ready labelled from the casting department.. The tough one. The farmer boy one. The handsome one. The oddly short one. The goofy one. And the evil one who from the off sets out to make our hero's life a misery. And the signpost also tells you that an hour down the line in this film they will be best buddies. The sergeant major now does what all sergeant majors do in every boot camp film you have ever seen he yells and screams bawls and bellows just half an inch from the face of every recruit. Of course he saves the best of his decibels for our hapless hero.

Turns out our hero doesn't want to carry a rifle he just wants to be a medic. So instead of congratulating him on this noble and potentially useful choice of army career he gets bawled out and they treat him like something the sergeant major scraped of the bottom of his size twelve boots.

But with the help of his demented dad and his pretty and expertly permed smiling gal our hero escapes a court martial. The gal gives her guy a bible. We saw that coming.

Part Two: Our hero and his buddies are gathered at the foot of a cliff. The only way up to Hacksaw Ridge is via a single wide rope ladder. Atop the ridge are approximately a quarter of a million Japanese soldiers. All is quiet. And you can't help wondering why those evil Nips (their term, not mine) haven't simply chopped down the rope ladder or why they are not massed along the top lobbing mortars and grenades down on the troops below.

But we have been assured at the start of this epic masterpiece that we are watching a true story so we have to accept that this is how it happened. But that rope ladder still bothers me.

However...the troops clamber up the ladder and they are on top of the cliff – and all hell breaks loose after a bombardment from some offshore guns.

Now let me state here that I have read about the battles against the Japanese for control of the Pacific islands and am fully aware of the terrible fighting that ensued. The Japanese fought with suicidal recklessness not seen since Medieval times. But in this film that fighting is presented in such an orgiastic way with almost pornographic detail of spilled entrails, pools of glistening blood, severed limbs, decapitated heads, mangled half torsos and spaghetti shredded legs that the suspicion is that the director and writers have intentionally set out to out-gore every war film that has gone before. Every time a soldier looks up a bullet neatly penetrates his helmet and skull. Every time there is an explosion three men are catapulted into the air by some clever hidden device. And then there is more blood and guts and half- men screaming for their moms.

The tidal wave of Japs overwhelms the US soldiers and miraculously they all escape down the one rope ladder. It's not shown how they get their wounded down there but hey ho... What of our hero...? Well he is still up top – now alone with the dead and wounded that have been left behind. A few Japs take some pot shots at him but then they all disappear back to their tunnels for some chow.

Leaving our hero free to drag the wounded to the cliff edge. This is an heroic task in itself but now he has to get them to safety. He proceeds to lower them down the two hundred feet sheer cliff face. Actually there are only two blokes down there, smoking and chewing the fat. But they do a sterling job sending the wounded back to camp. Oddly no-one thinks to send a soldier or two – or twenty – up the trusty rope ladder to help our hero. They just hang around below waiting for the next dangling hospital candidate.

And so it goes on. When our exhausted hero does eventually fling himself down with a rope there just happens to be scores of his buddies waiting for him. Shame they didn't have the balls to go up and help him. But they all line up cinematically so that our hero can be led away.

At the risk of upsetting the 'Special Relationship' we have with our pilgrim brothers and sisters on the other side of the pond – and I know my fellow countrymen will understand this – Hacksaw Ridge is just too American. A much better script and a British director would have delivered a subtle, more sympathetic film with less of your usual jingoism and more of the real drama and nuances of war.

This is a true story. A story of towering heroism. Real men fighting real battles. But in this mess of a film that story has been reduced to nothing more than a comic book reality. And all concerned deserved better than that.
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A real war story told realistically.
jdesando31 October 2016
"I have seen stalks of corn with better physiques." Sergeant Howell (Vince Vaughn)

Director Mel Gibson is an action genius and along with that compliment, let's add he knows his violence. Hacksaw Ridge is a true and heroic story of the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor for bravery in battle. Brave also could be any attempt to separate the film from its controversial director, but I'll let the film speak for itself.

The contradiction is real: Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield) was a Seventh Day Adventist who not only refused to work on Saturdays, but he also refused even to touch a gun. Through the intervention at a court martial of his improbably brave and conflicted father (Hugo Weaving), Doss is allowed to serve as a medic under those conditions, proving to all that he could be braver saving men at Okinawa's Hacksaw Ridge than anyone else (75 men as a medic with a flair for ingenious rescuing).

Although Director Gibson is best known for his graphic depictions of violence in Apocalypto and The Passion of the Christ, he can also be accused, along with writers Andrew Knight and Robert Schenkkan, of clichéd story telling. The film's two parts, at home and at war, follow some pretty trite set-ups such as the mountain boy smitten by the nurse, the call to righteous service, the tough drill sergeant ( a terrific Vince Vaughn, see opening quote), and the sentimental trench dialogue.

Yet these flaws work when the story needs them to establish Doss's kind heart, courage, and the essential goodness of fellow combatants as they confess they misread him and his conscientious objection. If you can forgive the almost unreal, lush setting for his youth in Lynchburg, Virginia, and his mooning for his future wife, Dorothy (Teresa Palmer), then you will enjoy seeing a real hero in a real war.

Yes, Gibson knows how to depict action, not just pain, and it helps make Hacksaw Ridge a welcome addition to war films that tell true stories. And lest I forget, welcome back, Mel; you have been redeemed.
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Cliché upon cliché upon cliché wrapped up in fantasy
TheCrustyCurmudgeon7 February 2017
If you're looking for a puff piece that will reinforce your lack of knowledge about war and strengthen your already crystallized belief in the Christian faith, then this is the movie for you. Poorly scripted and filled with exaggerated stereotypical cliché lines and images, this will thrill the war-mongering, Christian right.

If, however, you understand even basic military concepts and aren't interested in proselytizing as entertainment, then you may want to steer clear (or at least have something interesting to do while the movie is playing in the background).

While the acting is quite mediocre, the poor scripting and absolute litany of cliché is very boring. I was finding the first 45 minutes or so okay, but once we got to basic training and action, it went down very quickly
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I am astonished by the reviews and score
ddragosa8 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I begin my review by saying that I respect the history and the events that took place in WW2 and I have the utmost respect for the guys who gave their life for that cause. Having said that, let me tell you my opinion about the movie. And only the movie.

Well, first of all I found it dull and uninteresting. The actors were fake. The scenes looked like rehearsals and uncut material. It was split in two half: the first was about nothing (well you could say stubbornness and stupidity because I was made to fell nothing for the main character except annoyed and uninterested) and the second about guts and gore. Did I said the actors looked FAKE? Oh, yeah. But man, oh man that was the main problem for me. The actors looked fake and the entire movie looked like a poorly made joke.

The plot was something like this: let's establish the motives, good. Now the cause... good and now the effects. Perfect. Now we can move on. The audience got it. And so on and so forth. Now lets slip in some romance. You can't have a movie without romance. Good, check! Now let's be jerks about it and make his life uncomfortable in the army, check! But hey, he got beliefs, check! ONE BIG CHECK LIST. No emotion, no heart, no nothing. A dead flat feeling.

Let me tell you few spoilers from the movie that I found to be really bad.

  • the scene where he meets the guys from the army in the barrack. Why in the hell should you put a naked guy (no brains, just muscles) to do pull-ups naked? Why? Because the target audience appreciate it? Little girls can't watch a movie that has no naked buff guys in it? I can only imagine the guys who made that crap scene: OK, guys I have an idea! We will introduce a stupid character that will do pull-ups naked in the barrack. But why? Doesn't matter, but it will be very funny and in that way we please the target audience. And check that out. We will make him run naked outside the barrack because the sergeant wouldn't let him get dressed and he will be forced to run naked during their exercises. Ha ha, so funny, NOT!.

  • the scene where they fight the Japanese. At some point the tough guy in the unit picks up a half dismembered body to use it as a shield and charged the battlefield killing 20 Japanese. WTF? At that point I was laughing and couldn't believe how bad this looks. Mel is becoming senile.

  • another scene when some doctor got wounded and Dodds wanted to give him plasma and the doctor says "No, give it to the other guy I don't know!". And he did. After several minutes we see a scene where Dodds asks about the doctor and another guy says "He didn't make it. He didn't have the plasma". And he makes a stupid face and we as the audience understand everything. WOW that was very educating. It was explained to us like we were some retards and didn't understand the sacrifice he made. Very poorly done. Cheap.

The battle looked like it was made by acrobats all jumping in spectacular ways, turning, twisting. All was about guts and gore. The more gore the better. Its as if the film was thought to get better with every gruesome scene over and over again. But it got worse. At some point after seeing so many body parts it became a joke. It began to fail and I was made to smile at how stupid this looks. Every scene made me think how the directors were scheming and constipating with ideas that were suppose to shock us until they run out of ideas and they just put more guts, gore and blood. That will shock them.

I can continue to rant about this movie as every scene has flaws and doesn't deliver. I wouldn't call this movie an Oscar or even a mention. Mel's only good movie was Braveheart and I stand by that. I cant believe how easy people fall for this violence nonsense mixed with religion and patriotism. Could it be that this a recipe for successful movies? Or we are ashamed to admit this is a crap movie because we are afraid that others will look upon us and accuse us we don't respect history and heroes? Wake up people!
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A total disaster!
rondje24 February 2017
After reading many positive reviews here and elsewhere, I was eager to see this. But to my surprise this turned out to be one of the most overrated movies I've ever seen. The first half is the cheesiest piece of Hollywood cinema in recent years and the second half contains the stupidest war action ever aside from comedy; it seemed like slapstick to me! I really have no clue how people can rate this highly. A total disaster of a movie!
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Best movie seen in a long time
miplaycreate10 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This is the best movie I've seen in a long time. When I thought it'd be just another Hollywood war movie about a typical war hero, it definitely surprised me, especially when it's faithful to the True story.

I was amazed God is everywhere in this movie... in a Hollywood war movie? Wow.

Half way through the movie, I understand that without explaining this soldier's strong Christian faith, this real story cannot be told. Without God, it would not have happened.

** Might have spoilers below **

Without God, a young man named Doss would not stick to the "thou shall not kill" commandment even in the bloodiest war zone. He would not have promised God that he would not touch a firearm in the first place, and then volunteered to serve along other soldiers at the front line against the Jap troops. Yes, at the front line without anything protecting himself except his bible and faith in God (you really have to see the movie to see what the bloody war was like).

Without God, Doss would not have persevered even when he joined, when no one else understands/agrees with what he was doing, physically abused him, and almost put him into the war prison for disobeying the order to use a firearm. Many told him to give up and go home. He did not, even though he didn't fully understand why God calls him there. He persevered with his faith in God.

Without God, when his comrades retreated at the Hacksaw Ridge in Japan, Doss would not have stayed, and had faith to re-enter the war zone ALONE and without firearm one time after another to save the wounded, while the Jap troops were everywhere hunting for them. By a simple prayer: "Lord, please help me get one more." He saved 75 soldiers (his comrades said it was actually close to a 100 when Doss modestly said 50, so they took the average)

At the saving scene, I was so touched that I told my husband perhaps precisely because God didn't want to leave the wounded soldiers behind to die or to be captured, Doss has been called to be there. And not only that, what he did gave hope to his comrades for a comeback.

Praise the Lord, for He must be behind all this.

Thank you Mel Gibson and the production team because they were very faithful to the truth of this real story.


I went to check some of the facts and wow they were mostly true, e.g. at historyvshollywood.com/reelfaces/hacksaw-ridge/

The real Desmond Doss considers it a _miracle_ that he made it off the ridge on Okinawa.

"His heroics didn't go unnoticed, as fellow soldiers were often amazed he was still alive." - The Conscientious Objector Documentary

"Doss doesn't hesitate to heal a man in need. He doesn't see skin colour, he doesn't see uniform, he doesn't see an enemy. This is a transcendent act and a rare thing to witness in our culture."

Final note: Let's not undermine the contribution of the other soldiers who fought and were injured/died at the battlefields, nor justify war itself, but this story of Doss opens up a whole new perspective that if you stick to what God really teaches, something incredible happens.
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Great come back for Mel Gibson
orpheus-7339813 March 2017
This was by far the best picture of the year and a great comeback for Mel Gibson. It didn't win best picture because of the politicization of the Oscars. No way that "Moonlight" even came close to this film. To win an Oscar now you have to be non-white and LGBT. It reminds me of how "Saving Private Ryan" lost to a ho-hum movie "Shakespeare in Love." People still watch SPR but who ever talks about the other movie. So I predict that Hacksaw Ridge will become a classic while the other movies is well forgotten. Hacksaw Ridge, on the other hand, is a story that is so unbelievable because it stretches all credibility but hits us in the face because it actually happened. One of those "no one would believe it if they made a movie" but it actually happened. The courage of that man going alone, unarmed, except for his faith in God, directly into the mouth of hell. I am not a Christian but the devotional aspect of this movie was very inspiring. I would recommend anyone to see this movie and forget the other movie.
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Instant War Classic
bgwillie511327 February 2017
I felt that this movie was a instant contender for best war movie when I watched it. Compared to Saving Private Ryan, it has definitely benefited from the technology of today's age. The story line itself was very inspirational and a heart warming experience that was moving from start to finish.
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Sweet but shallow
tobbejonsson2 February 2017
This is a sweet movie. It's very very sweet. In fact, it's so sweet that you can almost see the syrup dripping from the screen. And don't get fooled by the colors. This movie has a more black/white feel to it, heaven or hell, good or bad, etc etc.

And I'm confused. Is this a political movie? I don't know anything about Mr Gibson's political views, but if this is it - I'm not buying.

Is it a religious movie? If so, what is the message? That it's OK to go to war in the name of God?.

I'm confused. So...what am I missing. Well, some nuances for starters! We have this clean-cut handsome James-Dean guy and his gorgeous sweetheart girlfriend (this is where the movie is sooo white and happy), and then we have this gruesome war where everything is very very black. And the Japs are evil. End of story. Is it that simple? Hmm...don't think so.

This is a hard movie to rate. I give it 1/10 colorful nuances but a whooping 10/10 syrup bottles! And watch out - you might slip on the syrup floor on your way out from the theatre.
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Although it portraits exceptionally the war environment, in my opinion, it is overrated because of the american pride.
ruipedrofelix-7166030 August 2018
Stop overrating because you were born in America. This does not contain any spoilers. There are a few scenes that are not medically correct so if you spend over 30 million dollars at least hire some good doctors to review what you are doing.
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one of the worst war movies that I've ever seen
arotchev13 March 2017
I wonder what veterans of the battle had to say after watching this movie. There are many moments in this movie that make it look like Marvel's story. Unbelievable. Was there really only ONE rope ladder to climb for ALL American troops? Was there some kind of treaty with Japanese not to touch the ladder and let Americans climb till they reach the top and prepare for an attack? Everyone was just waiting for our hero to finish, ALONE,saving his wounded comrades? I used to respect Mel Gibson's work. Not anymore.
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Mel Gibson Snuff Comedy/ Gore Film
john-sorich6 November 2016
I saw Hacksaw Ridge last night here's my opinion.... I don't know if that was supposed to be a historically accurate movie, since they had the actual veterans that they interviewed at the end of the movie But it was more like a Mel Gibson snuff film glorifying the act of killing people and some weird Christian stuff too.

IF it was supposed to be a historically accurate movie they probably should drop the scene of a BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) gunner holding a limbless bloody human torso with one hand (like a shield) while running toward a Japanese position and firing the BAR with one hand. The most shocking part was that they stole the scene from Saving Private Ryan!! The Soldier's started throwing 60mm mortar rounds after bumping the bottom of the shells on their helmets. 😑 As if that was done on a regular basis. There were also several grenades having the pins pulled with teeth and lightly flicking them away. (FYI, if you try to do this in real life you will crack your teeth off). ....Followed by flamethrowers that were actually more like Dragon's breath, igniting dozens and dozens of Japanese soldiers. All this occurring on the screen with the audience behind me audibly saying " Wow "

The actual cool part was when they showed the medic, heroically moving around the battlefield who ended up rescuing 75 men from Hacksaw Ridge.

My one beef with this movie was that it is NOT A REALISTIC INTERPRETATION of what actually happened in WWII, in ANY sense This was more of a comedy/ glorifying gore... followed by actual interviews of real life veterans portrayed in the movie... WHICH, seemed to insinuate that everything you just watched was historically accurate. FAIL!!

Also casting Vince Von to play a Sergeant 😑 with some opening scenes trying to mimic the full metal jacket humor, all of it.... epic fail and just hard to watch.

On a scale of 1 to 10, the option of going to this movie or staying in my room and staring at the wall This was about a 2, and slightly better than staring at a wall...
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