Hollywood’s obsession with WWII continues with Mel Gibson trying his hand at the genre.
‘Hacksaw Ridge’ tells the story of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who joined the US Army as a medic and saved the lives of 75 soldiers at the battle of Okinawa.
It’s a film of two halves. The first act focuses on Doss’s struggle to be allowed to serve and is overwhelmingly saccharine and sentimental; the sun always shines and the stomach-turning romance scenes dominate the narrative.
The second act goes all-out to make the battlefield violence as visceral and horrific as possible, but overabundance of ever-so-noble, lantern-jawed GIs fatally undermines this grasp for realism. That said, once it stops showing off and the story of Doss’s actions is allowed to take over, the film becomes very engaging.
Andrew Garfield gives a capable performance as Doss, but strays a little too close to Forrest Gump at times. Hugo Weaving is the real star, giving the film’s most complex performance as Doss’s alcoholic, abusive father, tormented by his experiences in the First World War.
It’s not a bad film; it’s quite enjoyable, but its flaws are significant and it takes far too long to find its feet.