While everybody is taking life I’m going to be saving it, and that’s going to be my way to serve.
Hacksaw Ridge is one of those movies that puts everything into perspective. I was watching this gruesome assassination of storytelling and there was nothing I could do about it. It was happening right in front of my eyes and all I could manage was to balance out my costs, laugh once or twice, face palm heavily and question mankind’s purpose and direction.
Do not get me wrong on this, I’ll just set it straight right now, my issues with this movie have nothing to do with Desmond Thomas Doss, his values or his life’s work. I actually think what he did was pretty awesome. Now that we’ve settled that, I’ll proceed to beat the crap out of this ridiculous movie.
Mel Gibson‘s failed dramatic prance around Okinawa would make for a remarkable comedy. I’m serious and I do mean it with the ad most respect. We saw how the comedic dialog sort of worked and I do understand why there was a need for comical relief, throughout the first part of the movie at least. On a first approach, Doss’s idea of jumping off into war without a gun or any violent intent, sounds, well, stupid. It looks idiotic, I see how it could be hard, borderline impossible, to sell it at a dramatic/heroic level. Making this first section of the movie judgmental towards this guy also allows the audience to fit in with the group of soldiers that surround him. We’re part of the team that don’t get what’s going through this guy’s mind. That pushes us into the great realization that maybe he’s super brave, super right and super awesome come the rescuing scenes. That parallelism is effective in underlining his ignored potential to be a hero, instead of the fool everyone sees in him, and it sends us in a conscience rumble with our own values. And that’s all fine and dandy, yet, this particular mix of drama and comedy makes the plot a disservice. It doesn’t work, it doesn’t blend well, it doesn’t flow, it falls flat on its face.
And how would I solve that? Well, first of all, no one’s paying me to come up with a solution for this thing, that’s on Mel. But, to be honest, I’d probably just turn it into a full on comedy. With a minor epic portion devoted to proving how the guy that prompted the funny premise “I’m off to war without a gun” is after all sort of a hero. Other way you could approach this thing and honor this story properly would probably be to simply let it live as a documentary. Those last five minutes on the credits were awesome (despite not being enough to make up for the crappy movie that came before). Either option would be better than this conundrum of jump scares and misplaced jokes.
Still about the plot, the movie is way too long. You could easily chop off twenty minutes from this thing. The romantic mumbo jumbo is stretched for far too long to fulfill some imaginary rule on how long this film is supposed to bore us for.
The casting feels wrong. I do get Andrew Garfield is supposed to fit the non-violent, good guy role, he’s Spider-Man after all, but he doesn’t slip well into this character. And, guess what, I don’t even think it’s his fault, he made a strong effort to become this part, all those mannerisms and his awkwardly charming ways. Kudos for trying. But intentions didn’t get him there, at least not for me. Some casting choices just aren’t meant to be.
Vince Vaughn annoyed me, he’s the cornerstone of this failure of drama becomes comedy, comedy becomes drama back and forth mess. Teresa Palmer, she’s very beautiful, no doubt (trust me, I didn’t want to start the sentence that way either), but I’ve never seen a relevant character from her, just pretty and flat . (Hey, maybe that’s my fault, I just haven’t seen enough of Palmer’s movies, if you think that’s the case leave some suggestions)
Hacksaw Ridge i s a mess that fails on honoring a real and remarkable story of bravery and kindness. They did an unforgivable number on this one. If you’re looking for a good movie based on a true story, just watch Lion. Also, google Desmond Doss, you shouldn’t walk past his story, but you’ll probably come out better served from Wikipedia than from the theater this time around.