‘Hacksaw Ridge’ Movie Review: Andrew Garfield Wins Hearts As Non-Violent Soldier
A fan of war movies? First off, let’s get this out of the way relatively quickly. *clears throat* NEEERD! Alright now that that’s over with we can move on to the part where I say this movie was pretty great.
Andrew Garfield, known for his work in The Amazing Spiderman as Peter Parker, or Spiderman (I can’t believe I had to explain that), plays the main character in this non-fiction film. The movie opens with a man being carried on a stretcher with gunshot legs. Suddenly, we are brought to two children racing in the woods. When they come back home to their drunk father who spends all day talking to the graves of his army buddies, one kid hits the other with a brick. The boy who used the brick, Desmond T. Doss, walks to a framed painting illustrating the 10 Commandments and begins to cry. His mother decides to take charge and talks to her son gently about violence.
Fifteen years later, Desmond is working in a church when somebody outside is injured — their leg arteries are squirting blood like a super soaker. This is going to be a theme, just so you know. Bringing him to the hospital and using his belt to stop the bleeding, Desmond falls in love with a nurse and is perhaps the most awkward southern gentleman I have ever seen in my entire life. She agrees to go out with him, and one Nazi movie later, he kisses her.
Doss wants to join the army and his father adamantly disagrees with his choice. Upon entry into the military as a medic, the Captain (Vince Vaughn) attempts to make soldiers out of the boy. Doss meets up with his ragtag team of acquaintances and does well in each test, but refuses to hold a gun. The Army attempts to get him to quit by treating him like dirt. Doss makes it through, only to find the Army still refuses his enlistment. His father comes by to save him, and they eventually let him enter the Army without a gun.
Averse to violence, Doss can’t do much on the battlefield, especially considering the horrors he endures through. However, he stays on the battlefield and eventually saves more than 100 men over a period of hours without sleeping. Describing each and every part of what Doss does takes away from the action itself.
As a cinematic experience, the film does everything quite well. The beginning is slow, yet by the middle of the movie you’re rooting for this simple, yet pure patriot who wants nothing more than to help others. The movie’s emotional elements are used effectively, providing humor when introducing the characters who would later bully Doss. The gory scenes aren’t introduced just to shock, but to simultaneously get the audience used to the horrors of war as Doss overcomes them to save lives.
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