I was initially hesitant of this film with the general concept of having a war movie where your lead doesn't touch a weapon to be very out of place. Based on true events of the Hacksaw Ridge event during World War II, Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield) has decided it's his duty to join the military. While doing so he also holds firm on his belief against bearing arms and deals with the retaliation based around that. This is actually explored through a large portion of the movie, but it did feel somewhat necessary and offered nice a divide between the film's acts. The first half builds the character while offering some basis for his beliefs and also introducing the supporting group of soldiers he's to serve with. There's then a brief transition between the training and heading towards Hacksaw showing the aftermath of previous battles to set a precedent for what's to come. The action then immediately starts once they get to the ridge and when I say immediately, it opens with a bang. It was actually a huge shift going from a quieter picture into something loud and terrifying very quickly.
Hacksaw Ridge was beautifully shot with each scene capturing the essence of war times while also being visually impressive. The battle scenes were particularly amazing capturing a shocking side of war with high levels of gore and absolute destruction. It also felt faithful to what a typical campaign in the region would have looked at making each part of that hour feel extra gruesome. The acting was also incredible with Desmond's father (Hugo Weaving) bringing a strong side to the previous war with Vince Vaughn being surprising in the serious role as their sergeant. I felt that Garfield was a bit too dopey looking giving terrifying flashbacks to his Spiderman take, but this was greatly improved in the second half of when combat started.
There were some heavy themes within the film with an almost too high dedication to religion within it. I can see why one might take the high road by not using a weapon, but the Desmond's actions were crazy. This is based on a true story and I must say while he was brave in regards to his actions it felt at times in the ending portion that there was a bit of a death wish there. That aside it was a solid film that captured the time period perfectly while also giving a terrifying depiction of that time's warfare.
Review for Hacksaw Ridge at Home with Streamed Viewing
Screening Provided by Elevation Pictures