That title is not lying folks. Hacksaw Ridge might be the best movie with the best cast that you haven’t heard about. When you have a movie that stars Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Hugo Weaving, Teresa Palmer, and Vince Vaughn; you’d think that we’d be all over it. Well, we aren’t. Perhaps that’s because this movie was directed by Mel Gibson and we’re all still mad at him. I don’t know. What I do know is that Gibson’s work behind the camera this time created a pretty amazing film.
Firstly, let me just say that this movie brings you some absolutely gritty looks at war. I wanted to find the closest veteran to me and thank them for their service over and over again. You may or may not get a little PTSD from watching the battle scenes in this movie.
Where this movie really shines though is in its emotion. I laughed. I almost cried. I jumped out of my seat. I was angry. At the end, when they did the recap of the true story, I was left in complete awe. This movie was so powerful that a little over an hour in, the person next to me felt compelled to lean over and say, “This is one of the best things I’ve ever seen.” I have to agree. Whether or not you care for the Christian overtones that are inherent given that Doss did these great feats due to his incredibly strong beliefs, you can’t help but be inspired. This movie hit me harder than any other war movie since Saving Private Ryan. It’s that good.
When it comes to the performances, I am going to give the Holy Shit He’s a Better Actor Than I Even Thought Award to Vince Vaughn. We’ve all been used to Vaughn being charming and lovable but, he proved to me that he has a lot more to offer than that. He was funny but also emoted better than I’ve seen before out of him. Hugo Weaving (The Matrix, Cloud Atlas) gives a hauntingly good performance as Doss’s alcoholic father who was driven to the bottle by the horrors he witnessed in WWI. Andrew Garfield plays a Doss that will make you love him so much that we will all agree to forget about Spider Man 2 (even though the faults in that movie were not in his performance). Teresa Palmer (Lights Out) will become a household name and I expect to see her in more dramatic roles after this one. Her portrayal of Doss’s incredibly strong wife and emotional foundation reminds us all of how uplifting true love can be.
Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about this movie. There was a single part in the movie that I found corny (no spoilers) but, that feeling was erased when I found out that the event in question actually happened EXACTLY like the movie depicted. Desmond Doss is a hero whose story deserved to be told and Gibson and company couldn’t have done it any better. I don’t know if this movie deserves a lot of the awards but it is a must-see in my eyes and at least deserves multiple nominations. It received a 10 minute standing ovation at Venice Film Festival and another standing ovation at the Australian premiere that I was at. Both were deserved.