“Hacksaw Ridge” is Academy-Award-Winner Mel Gibson’s first directorial movie since 2006. The movie stars Andrew Garfield who portrays Desmond Doss, a devout Christian solider who refuses to carry or fire a weapon on the battlefield. Desomond says that he refuses to carry a weapon because it would create a conflict with his religious beliefs. The overall character that Doss portrays allows a lot of good discussion points for Christians. Doss as a character also creates for a very up and down movie in my opinion.
The first hour of “Hacksaw Ridge” is something similar to a hallmark film. There’s no shortage of clichés, cheesiness and bad dialogue between characters. There is not enough character development in the movie and this hurts the movie’s quality later on. Another problem that seemed to hurt the movie’s cause was taking on the task of trying to develop too many characters in the movie. Another issue I found with the first half of the movie is that the movie is very slow and boring. The acting is okay in the first half but I had a tough time with some of the characters accents and also felt some characters were miscast. For instance, Vince Vaughn who is usually in comedic movies was cast as an Army Sergeant.
The second half of “Hacksaw Ridge” is completely opposite to the first half. The battle sequences of “Hacksaw Ridge” are among the most intense and graphic that I have ever seen. Although I personally thought that some of the action sequences in the movie were some of the best that I have seen in years. The second half of this movie was much better due to the fact that the pacing and meat of the story was being flushed out. The battle sequences, while very graphic, were what made this movie good for me.
The battle sequences reminded me of a mix of “Saving Private Ryan” and “Django Unchained.” The intensity, and at some parts realistic violence, made me think back to the opening scene on “Omaha Beach.” But some parts reminded me of “Django’s” over-the-top violence.
Overall I liked some parts of this movie and did not like other parts of the movies. The movie had glimpses of potential and had some really thought out action sequences. But the movie also had some poor acting and slow pacing at times, bogging down the overall film. At the end of the day you are going to get a good war movie with a slow first hour.
Arie Van Weelden is a freshman Christian ministries major. This review reflects the opinion of the author only.