Combustible Celluloid
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With: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths, Vince Vaughn
Written by: Robert Schenkkan, Andrew Knight
Directed by: Mel Gibson
MPAA Rating: R for intense prolonged realistically graphic sequences of war violence including grisly bloody images
Running Time: 139
Date: 11/04/2016

Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Gun Shy

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

In 2016, Mel Gibson had his best acting role in decades, Blood Father, and now he turns in his best job of directing. That's not to say Hacksaw Ridge is any kind of masterpiece; it's extremely simplistic, but it's also rousingly effective, and destined to evoke tears from even the most hardened, masculine viewers. Andrew Garfield stars, in a very earnest performance, as Desmond Doss, a Seventh-Day Adventist who wished to serve his country in WWII, but refused to pick up a weapon. He became a conscientious objector, which, of course, earns the scorn and ridicule of his fellow men. That is, until Okinawa, wherein, without carrying a weapon, and as a medic, he managed to save some 75 wounded men, dragging them off the battlefield to safety. Gibson is as obsessed with violence — and more importantly, the endurance of violence — as ever, and he makes sure that viewers are intimately familiar with the bloody horrors of this particular battle. But Garfield balances that out, making a squeaky-clean hero to be proud of. Vince Vaughn is very funny as the drill sergeant, but the otherwise amazing Teresa Palmer has a dull part as the pretty girl in his life. Hugo Weaving and Rachel Griffiths are fine as Mr. and Mrs. Doss. The movie, not unexpectedly, ends with footage of the real-life Medal of Honor winner Doss, who passed away in 2006.

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