Thursday, 9 February 2017

Hacksaw Ridge (4/5, Good)

Mel Gibson's new film is a surprisingly good film filmed with great sensitivity to shed light into the humanity of a man amidst the brutality of war.

Mel Gibson's comeback as a film director was at first received with a cautious welcome from Red Curtain Cinema. We do not forget the horrible experience that was The Passion of Christ. We were afraid to see again gore scenes, striking visual sequences and accentuated drama. However Mel Gibson decided to privilege the real-life character of Desmond Doss (Andrew Gardfield) and his promise of never using a gun and simply operate as a medic in the battlefield. Gibson makes his statement about war through the compassion, courage and humanity that Doss has towards his mates but also towards his enemies.

Andrew Gardfield, in his best role of his career (with The Social Network) is the best asset of the film because we do not understand the choices of Vince Vaughn and Sam Worthington (especially him) as supporting actors. They are empty characters with no interest in this original and compelling story. The other positive aspect of the film is its photography, done with great care that contrast with the common brutality in war films (which became mainstream after Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan).

If there is a weakness around this film is perhaps the "too" cautious approach of Mel Gibson when it comes to telling the story. He restrains himself and that is quite obvious since his masterpieces Braveheart and Apocalypto which embraced violence and intense drama supported by a solid story as one package. Hacksaw Ridge fails to move as Mel Gibson's has already shown the ability to but nevertheless makes this story worth being told. In times of individualism and lack of compassion towards suffering people in this globalized world, it is good to look behind and see what people did against the odds such as Desmond Doss. A classic moral fiber but that does mean it is not appealing. 


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