Saturday, December 10, 2016

Hacksaw Ridge - Movie Review

The Movie:
Hacksaw Ridge is based on the true story about a young man who enlisted into the army during World War II and became one of America's greatest heroes without ever holding a gun. The film was directed by Mel Gibson and features acting performances from Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Vince Vaughn, Luke Bracey, Hugo Weaving, and Teresa Palmer.

The Review:
Over the years, we have seen a lot of untold true stories come to light in cinematic form, each with a dramatic tale of heroism against impossible odds and Mel Gibson does an admirable job of adding to this roster with his movie about WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss. All of the classic story telling pieces are there and I would describe it as a mixture of Saving Private Ryan and Full Metal Jacket although very safe and toned down compared to those two efforts. Sure, there's some pretty graphic battle footage which we expect from Gibson although the story doesn't go anywhere near the type of psychological analysis that either of other two films does.

Andrew Garfield plays Dos with a constant smile and a goofy charm that is endearing to a point, although, for some reason, I have never been able to like anything he has done. Maybe that built in perception of him as an actor ruined the performance for me, but I just didn't see the Oscar caliber effort he has been praised for. Another questionable casting move was installing Vince Vaughn as a drill instructor. While he tries to channel R. Lee Ermey, all I saw was Beanie, his character from Old School and, yeah, that just didn't work. Teresa Palmer was great as Dorothy Dos although she doesn't really have much to do.

The Verdict:
Hacksaw Ridge is a good movie. It has a solid and appropriately dramatic story with some pretty intense action sequences although it's nothing we haven't seen before. I guess you could say this is the movie equivalent of comfort food. It's well prepared, goes down easy, and makes you feel good about being an American.

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