GIBSON EXCELLENT FILMMAKER
Film Review by Fiore
HACKSAW RIDGE is proof positive Mel Gibson is a most excellent filmmaker. It is, without question, one of the best films of the year. What is disturbing, is the current trend of non-American filmmakers who can capture the essence of American values and culture in movies better than the progressive, looney liberal infected filmmakers in our own country. Mexican directors backed by drug cartel money, Arab filmmakers backed by oil money, British anti-gun weenies, and especially Australian filmmakers depict the American way of life, and understand the American film goer better than indigenous producers, delirious with their own quest of shaping the world into an Utopian existence crafted in their own image. It is the largest form of hubris in Tinseltown.
But none of that is present in HACKSAW RIDGE, the tale of Desmond Doss, the only man to ever be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroic deeds while maintaining his strong religious beliefs, and never lifting a gun, during WWII.
Gruesome war scenes broke a glass ceiling with Tom Hank’s SAVING PRIVATE RYAN; but the battles in HACKSAW RIDGE reach a new level of brutality.
Production Designer Barry Robison unleashes war’s hell with no veiled sensitivities, making Doss’ deeds even more astounding. By the way, kudos to the loving parents who brought their toddler into this R-rated film. What a fine example of parenting you represent. There are no acceptable alibis.
Mel Gibson has received a plethora of poor PR from Hollywood, mostly spun tales and edited videos to present him in a disparaging manner because of his successful snub of the Hollywood power machine with the release of THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. The revenge factor in Tinseltown is strong; and many will not move on and accept their defeat. Likely, many will not recognize this film for the excellent values and strong religious convictions it presents. Those themes are not what the hoi ploi of LaLa Land wish to disseminate. Gibson experienced backlash with the creation of this film, reverting to his homeland of Australia for production.
Each night, star Andrew Garfield should pray to whatever deity he worships for Gibson salvaging his career. Garfield was a young ingénue when he was given the coveted role of Spider-Man in the superhero’s reboot, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. Quickly after the movie was released, Garfield stupidly sabotaged his promising career by whipping up a press interview tour, touting the need for a homosexual superhero. He even went so far as to demand his next film in the Spider-Man series feature a homosexual tryst. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot; this was more like shooting yourself in the head.
Garfield became persona non-grata, especially among the ravenous superhero movie fan base. Marvel cancelled the six-movie series and killed it after two. Spider-Man is now going through another reboot, with Tom Holland, and a totally different storyline. Producers were wary of Garfield, fearing another post-film destructive press tour. Gibson, seeing an opportunity to let Garfield tout his liberalism while still preserving the American values necessary for the film, worked with casting director Nikki Barrett to bring Garfield into HACKSAW RIDGE. The result could be a nod for Best Actor.
KEY SCENES TO LOOK FOR:
1. THE NAKED RECRUIT
2. TOP OF THE RIDGE
3. STRETCHER DOWN
Gibson orchestrates HACKSAW RIDGE masterfully. The film is easily divided in two; the second half concentrating on the battle and Doss’ attempts to save his ravaged battalion. The first half establishes the characters and Doss’ internal conflict of wanting to help with the war effort, while still remaining true to his personal and religious beliefs. This first section could easily have dawdled the film, but screenwriter Andrew Knight fills it with downhome humor, providing laughs and chuckles as a set-up for the horrors to come.
Starring with Garfield are Teresa Palmer, as Dorothy Schutte, Doss’ love interest; Vince Vaughn as Sergeant Howell; Sam Worthington as Captain Glover; and Hugo Weaving as Tom Doss, Desmond’s father. Weaving’s performance is especially noteworthy.
Topping off the excellent cast is a rousing score by Rupert Gregson-Williams (he put in a hyphen, but he is still one of the dreaded three-name people). There is a special thank you note to James Horner, music writer extraordinaire as it is apparent Williams patterned his music after the legendary composer.
Simon Duggan, a stalwart in cinematography, provides exemplary work in HACKSAW RIDGE, especially during the battle. His use of camera angles is exceptional on the stretcher scene; strong enough to earn one of the key scene spots in this review.
Gibson, still demonstrating disdain for the Hollywood elite, crafts a fine film, returning to his homeland and incorporating a few family members into the cast and crew, to create a truly fine American film. Don’t miss this one. See it on the big screen. It is that good.
As always, I arrived at the screening a half hour before showtime. There was a group of folk sitting behind me, talking loudly as progressive liberals are wont to do, bragging about their charitable events of the day. Talk turned to the film and immediately, they began to criticize Gibson, claiming he was a horrible person, though no one had met him, and just had atrocious political beliefs. From Gibson, the talk turned to Clint Eastwood, who then suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous liberal indignation. For a moment, I considered turning around and engaging in the discussion. But, I bit my tongue; you just can’t fix stupid, even in the movie theatre.
THE GRADE FOR HACKSAW RIDGE = A