I haven’t blogged about anything in a while, so I thought I’d get cracking with a movie review, me being a lover of all things story. I first saw the trailer of Hacksaw Ridge a few weeks ago just before viewing The Magnificent Seven (good film) and was intrigued. This one had good story written all over it, not just a pretty-colors, effects-filled, block-buster, money-grab that we’ve been bombarded with lately but substance. So this weekend I gave Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge a go, and I was not disappointed. I only had two problems with the film that were not in the very least deal-breakers. I’ll comeback to those.
It was easily the best film I saw all year and in a long time. Here’s why; first off, It’s based on a true story. I don’t know about you, but that always rings my attention bell a little louder. Second, the film looked good. The cinematography was gorgeous and some of the settings, breathtaking. Thirdly, the film sounded good. The soundtrack wasn’t distracting, and I could actually understand what the actors were saying. Too bad at some of these film you can’t have a subtitles option. Enough with the numbers. The film was really good, just sayin’.
Something that drew me in early was the performances. Andrew Garfield had me hoping this was the way Desmond T. Doss really was. I was pulling for him the whole time even when I disagreed with him. This is too funny; I leaned over to my girlfriend and whispered. This guy could play Peter Parker in Spiderman. Duh! He did, and I hated him in that one. But I digress.
Anyhow, Sam Worthington (Avatar) was officer-like and pragmatic as Captain Glover (Desmond’s commanding officer) and Hugo Weaving (The Matrix) was haunted and a walking oxymoron as Tom Doss (Desmond’s dad).
The film started with a bit of backstory to establish character and then we were off. The pacing was good and even at 2:19 the film didn’t drag or feel too long (the true test). The battle scene was like nothing I’ve ever seen. It made, Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, and Saving Private Ryan look like kid’s play and was clearly the reason for the R rating. The sequence was fierce, horrifying, and completely necessary and underscored Desmond’s great accomplishments serving our country as a conscientious objector, truly amazing. One scene in the battle sequence had men in Doss’ company covering him from down below Hacksaw Ridge while he helped men above to safety. I saw a lot of men crying in the theater on that one, not me of course.
Oh, yeah, those two things I mentioned earliest. Vince Vaughn (sorry Vince, just callin’ ‘em like I see ‘em) was a distraction as Sergeant Howell. He seemed to play the role he usually plays in film and as person who served in the army, to me he seemed more like a caricature of a drill sergeant then an actual drill sergeant. Luckily those scenes were far and few between, so it didn’t compromise the film. The other problem was lack of diversity. Where were the brothas … or sistas. I didn’t see one … not one person of color in the total 2:19. That’s a problem. And don’t tell me about the time period. People of color have been serving in the military since the Civil War and before. That’s my rant. It’s still a great film that I predict will win more than one Oscar.