Hacksaw Ridge is a movie about a man by the name of Desmond Doss who fought in World War II during the battle for Okinawa and, specifically, the battle for Hacksaw Ridge. What’s interesting about his story is that he refused to touch or pick up a gun and had to face all sorts of opposition because of this on his way to becoming a field medic. Eventually, he winds up saving over 70 lives that would not have otherwise been saved.
His story was meant to be told through film. It could not have been better told than it was in the movie, Hacksaw Ridge. From start to finish, I was intrigued, interested, entertained, and on the edge of my seat while watching the movie. Personally, I cannot find a fault with the movie. The main thing I thought I would be upset with based on the trailers was Andrew Garfield’s accent. Surprisingly, it worked for the character and I never was annoyed with it.
Every single camera angle, focus pull, outfit, explosion, and performance dragged me into the movie. It felt like it was happening all around me. That means it accomplished what a movie based on real events should accomplish, making it feel just as real for you, the audience member, as it did for the actors or even the real people the actors are portraying.
The performances were all above and beyond what I expected them to be. Andrew Garfield became Desmond Doss for me. Teresa Palmer played the love of his life wonderfully. Their interactions and love story actually reminded me a lot of my relationship with my wife, so that was wonderful. Vince Vaughn is in this movie and he is a believable WWII drill sergeant, it’s nice to see he has dramatic chops and not just comedy inclinations. Sam Worthington, you know, the guy from Avatar? He was a thousand times more believable as a military member in this movie than he was in Avatar.
The last performance I’m going to talk about is that of Hugo Weaving. We all know him for playing villainous or mysterious roles in movies such as The Matrix, V for Vendetta, and Captain America: The First Avenger, but in this movie he plays Desmond Doss’ dad, who is a broken WWI vet who saw his best friends all die in war. He wants nothing to do with WWII and doesn’t want his sons to join up for the fight. All throughout his parts in the film, he plays an alcoholic, broken man so believably, that I sympathized for him. In the end, though, he is proven to be a loving father who wants his sons to succeed, however alcoholic he may be. And there was a very touching scene in the movie between him and Andrew Garfield that brought tears to both my eyes, and my dad’s eyes (who I saw the movie with).
The technical aspects talked about earlier add onto the performances to make this a beautiful, engaging movie that is hard to watch sometimes. This is the first war film I’ve seen where I was shaking after a war scene. And I’ve seen some of the more grittier war movies like Saving Private Ryan and 13 Hours. It sucked, yet brought that much more greatness to the film.
So, for these reasons, I am giving Hacksaw Ridge a 10/10.
Review by Austin Clemen & Caelan Markstrom