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Hacksaw Ridge - Film Review

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by Helen Belli (subscribe)
I am now living in Kariong on the Central Coast
Published November 23rd 2016
'Please God help me get one more'

A remarkable true story of courage and compassion.

Private Desmond Doss [Andrew Garfield] refuses to carry a gun, but goes ahead and volunteers to join the army during WW2. A devout seven day Adventist, his belief in not killing another human was strengthened by powerful incidents in his youth.

The film opens with graphic, raw scenes of battle. In flashback scenes of his childhood, some violent, are followed by his teenage and young adult years of love and tenderness when he meets his future wife.

He volunteers to join the army as a medic and is confronted with ridicule and rejection which he meets with passive residence.

'I don't know how I can live with myself, if I don't stay true to myself'

Image courtesy of Summit Entertainment

Finally, he takes his place with his unit. Sent to Okinawa, his task is to treat those wounded in what can only be described as a battle fought in hell. He stays behind to save 75 fallen soldiers single-handedly, without firing a single shot. Doss was the first conscientious objector to receive the highest military honour in the U.S.A., the Medal of Honour.

It is difficult not to get emotionally involved with the action on the field or the bravery of Doss. This is the genius of Mel Gibson, the director. He started his career as an actor in 1977 and has starred, directed and written films since then and leaves his amazing stamp on all his work.

'I wanted to show people things they have never seen before'. Deadline.

This has led to numerous accolades and awards.

Image courtesy of Summit Entertainment

Hacksaw Ridge was written by Andrew Knight and Robert Schenkkan. It was a 14-year project to get this story to the screen. The producers wanted Mel Gibson to direct the film. They wanted to portray violence and faith the way he had in 'The Passion of the Christ'. After three attempts, he accepted the brief. It was filmed entirely in Australia with a budget of $40 million in 59 days with many well-known local stars. It can be described as an antiwar film with a pacifist theme.

The music, composed by Rupert Gregson- Williams, adds to the drama and continues throughout the battle scenes. Nothing, however, can drown out the horror and carnage of the action. Men driven by hate and fear to kill their enemy.

The world premiere was held in Venice to a ten-minute standing ovation - no doubt this film will bag loads of well-deserved Oscars.

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