Hacksaw Ridge (2016)


Directed by Mel Gibson
Country: USA

Mel Gibson is automatically associated with acting and not directing. However, his directorial career has been oriented to movies that get immediate attention, not because of their mood or the way they are done, but mostly due to the nature of their topics. It happened with "The Passion of the Christ", "Braveheart", and "Apocalypto", and the story repeats again in the biographical war drama, "Hacksaw Ridge".

Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight wrote the script of a film that stars Andrew Garfield as private Desmond Doss, a brave combat medic who served in 1945 Japan without touching a single gun.
Far from being great, this is also far from being a flop.

Gibson’s first film in a decade starts to shape Desmond’s character at a very young age in his hometown, Lynchburg, Virginia. By then, he was already growing a solid consciousness about what’s right and what’s wrong. 
After hitting his older brother with a brick and send him to the hospital, Desmond realizes he could have killed him. This causes him to be terrified since it goes against his pacific nature and Christian principles.
For only once he went off the marks. It happened much later on, during a sad occurrence that involved his war-traumatized father (Hugo Weaving).

Even madly in love with Dorothy Schutte (Teresa Palmer), a local hospital nurse who would become his wife, Desmond believes it’s his duty to serve the country and decides to enlist himself. He goes to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, just to shock the present by informing he won’t touch a weapon to kill people or work on Saturdays, as an exemplary Seventh-day Adventist.

Humiliated, beaten up by his tough colleagues, and treated like a criminal by his superiors, the skinny Desmond ends up going to Martial Court for disobeying orders. Still, he manages to get rid of the accusation, following his unit toward the Battle of Okinawa, Japan.
Under intense fire, he proves to be the bravest man of the platoon, gaining everyone's respect. Faith is his strength and the Bible his talisman. This was enough to make him rescue 75 wounded infantrymen from the perilous battlefields. 
‘God, help me to get one more!’ he kept saying. 
Doss was the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor for his exceptional bravery and determination in the face of extremely dangerous conditions.

The war scenes, depicted with ‘commercial’ exaggeration, are typically Hollywood and include massive stabs, grenade explosions, shots in the head, legs ripped off, flamethrowers, and many more strategies to impress through violence. What the frames show us is often disgusting, yet Simon Duggan’s cinematography has a strange spell.
It's an acceptable Hollywood reviving an incredible WWII story and making us understand that courage is much beyond pulling a trigger.