Review: Hacksaw Ridge (USA 2016)

If this steaming pile of garbage could get nominated for Best Picture, I guess that is definitive proof that Mel “Sugar Tits” Gibson has been forgiven by the Hollywood community. Hacksaw Ridge commits the worst sin of war movies – being both schmaltzy and gory. The script is absolutely terrible – full of cheese and hoary clichés – and Andrew Garfield plays the lead as a kind of borderline slow Forrest Gump, while the direction could not be more trite and unsubtle.

The first half of the film is tedious corn following the travails of Private Desmond Doss, who joins the Army as a conscientious objector and finds himself abused at every turn by angry superiors culminating in a court-martial scene so stupid that I was laughing out loud at the screen. [Minor spoilers – seriously, watch that scene and tell me if it makes any sense – Doss is about to be convicted when his father bursts into the courtroom with a letter from a general reminding the judge of clearly applicable law which logically should have been the centerpiece of the defense and well-known to the judge, at which point the judge basically says, “oh right, free to go.”]

The second half of the film – clearly the reason why Gibson chose to film this – is mostly a nonstop montage of exploding heads, blown off limbs, and people on fire (which, to be fair, are very well filmed and easily the best thing about the movie) until Doss finally achieves the acts for which he is rightly celebrated, rescuing countless soldiers under fire. At this point, the film managed to achieve its second unforgivable sin – making me hate a film that has a good message and celebrates an amazing man. I suggest reading Doss’s Medal of Honor citation instead of watching this film. 1 1/2 out of 4 stars (Below average).

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