Hacksaw Ridge (2016) [Film Review]

Hacksaw Ridge, directed by Mel Gibson, may very well be one of the most astounding modern war films to be released. Myself, personally, am not usually a huge fan of war films, but Hacksaw Ridge sure made its mark on me.

The story is loosely based on real-life war hero, Desmond T. Doss, who was a conscientious objector who enlisted in the second World War as a combat medic. Unlike majority of combat medics, due to the heightened danger and targets held for medics in war, Doss refused to handle or touch any weapons for a couple of reasons: an earlier incident with family and his pledge as a seventh day adventist and the amendment “thou shalt not kill”.

The film is based on the Battle of Okinawa, where Doss saved the lives of approximately 75 people in direct line of fire despite being ordered to retreat; it was only after Doss ensured the injured soldiers were evacuated that he himself returned to safety.

Heroism and bravery is what made this film so incredibly inspirational and the filmmakers’ depiction on the bloody battle truly heightened and sensationalised the brutality of war. The sound design and special effects in this film are obviously remarkable and Andrew Garfield’s stellar performance captured the true persona of the humble war hero.

First of all – the sound. Oh, layers upon layers of carefully selected tracks to form the different depths of sound that makes scenes so much more intense and makes it feel so much more real. Obviously, I myself have not experienced war, however with the skilful use of sound effects and design, the feeling of fear and intensity was well portrayed. Gun shots, screaming, yelling, body hits, bombs, war machinery, flame throwers and weather impacts. I don’t think words on screen could ever convey the brilliance that was the sound design throughout this film.

Special effects also were obviously an outstanding feature of the film. Both digital and practical effects were used to show the confronting brutality of war and make the horrors of war as accurately portrayed as possible. Just a warning before seeing the film – there is a lot of blood, a lot of gore and all injuries and deaths of fallen soldiers are very confronting. However, even if you are not the gory type of person, you will be sure to have a huge amount of respect for the work that went into this film.

Character performances were also a standout. Garfield portrayed Doss in the true way that he was remembered to be – humble, genuine, brave and devoted.

This was a short review and certainly doesn’t do the film justice. I will continue to watch this film over and over to appreciate it’s art and beauty. It is such an incredible true story and it’s brilliance will resonate with me.



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