Monday, 31 October 2016

Film No. 66 (2016) Hacksaw Ridge October 25th.

Film No. 66 (2016) October 25th.  6.30 PM Greater Union Event Cinema, Innaloo.

If you thought Saving Private Ryan took the cake for the most graphic depiction of a battle scene then think again. Hacksaw Ridge has double the visuals, double the gore and double the impact. This big budget war film takes us to the WWII battle field of Okinawa; known as a legendary blood fest. We follow the heroics of Desmond Doss a christian conscientious objector who saved the lives of 75 soldiers in a 24 hour period without lifting a rifle because he vowed he never would.

The issue with Hacksaw Ridge is, there is too much cliche in the scenes leading to the gruesome battle field scenes, scenes where director Mel Gibson excels. The thing is Gibson announces the film as a true story. Perhaps he'd have been better to use the term "inspired by real events" because the big screen (Hollywood) treatment of some scenes suggest convenience of storytelling rather than reality. Given this treatment, Hacksaw Ridge is a big, ballsy film full of power and old-fashioned inspiration.

Desmond Doss was the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honour. It's an American story waiting to be told. Interestingly enough, it has taken a major U.S. ally in Australia to provide most of the artistic resources to bring to film to light. Mel has always been fascinated with the story, so ten years on from Apocalypto he returns, with an army of Australians; actors and studio techs alike to make the film. It's fitting that Vince Vaughan as Sergeant Howell returns to his brilliant best (Swingers) in this bio-pic. The sharpest, wittiest dialogue is penned for Vaughan.

So, back to what is most memorable about Hacksaw Ridge; the violent depiction of the reality of war. Gibson has a reputation for   depicting the brutality of an exceptional historical occasion (Passion of the Christ). In Hacksaw Ridge he excels. A couple of Oscars may very well reinforce his brilliance early in 2017. I suggest that people of a similar disposition to Mr Doss will not be able to stomach at least 30 minutes of Hacksaw Ridge. You have been warned.  9GUMS.


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