Austin Burke’s review published on Letterboxd:
2016 list - Click HERE
World War II American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and he becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot. Andrew Garfield absolutely crushes this role, and the heartbreaking determination he shows throughout the film is mesmerizing. Gibson directs a drastically different War film than what we are used to seeing, as we are less-so focused on the action and more-so focused on someone who is set on saving lives. The entirety of the second half is devoted to showcasing this, and it features some of the best payoffs that a film in this genre has ever had to offer. The film stumbles in the beginning with an overuse of dubbing and obvious green screen (for some reason). There is also a slow-motion scene between he and his father that kills me every time I see it. Then we start to discover who he is, and we see his riveting character-progression.
This is when we meet the hilarious character that Vince Vaughn knocks out of the park, and the typical “war-training montage” that has a bit more to it than expected. The entire time we are wondering how he is going to make it through at all without a gun, but I love the fact that he is not willing to compromise. He is who he is, and while there is a bit of hard-headedness present, the end result is a man who made the right decision for himself. It just has everything you look for in a strong, character-driven story, and it is never pushy with its themes. The battles look incredible, the cinematography as a whole is excellent, and then you have a sweeping score on top of it all. Hugo Weaving is another standout, as it is hard to pick just one from the supporting cast; Teresa Palmer is always beyond charming, and her chemistry with Garfield is crucial to this film working at all. It’s just an all-around excellent film. It does take a second to find its footing, but once it does, the film is relentless (in a good way). I just love a true story surrounding a good person, and that is what Hacksaw Ridge is.
🔙The Life Ahead
🔜Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone