Mel Gibson’s ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ is an Incongruent Tale of Bloody Pacifism

Costume SuperCentre Canada

hacksaw-ridge-0001

For the past decade, Mel Gibson has found himself in movie jail. An Oscar on his mantle and the fact that The Passion of the Christ is the highest grossing R-rated movie of all-time has done little to mitigate the fact that the actor and director’s bigoted statements have left on the public consciousness. For the first time in a decade, Gibson is back behind the camera directing with Hacksaw Ridge, a World War II movie based on the real life heroism of Desmond Doss, a Seventh-Day Adventist who refused to carry a rifle but whose heroism on the battlefield earned him the Medal of Honor. If Gibson, whose films have an overwhelming predilection towards violence, seems like an odd choice to tell the story of a revered pacifist, it’s because he is. Hacksaw Ridge is an amazingly bizarre film, one that admires Doss’ pacifist beliefs while presenting gruesome, festishized violence en masse.

The first half of Hacksaw Ridge is about as cornball as it gets. We’re introduced to the matriarch of the Doss clan Bertha (Rachel Griffins), who is driven by her immense faith, and the alcoholic patriarch Tom (Hugo Weaving), who drinks to escape the wounds from his past in World War I and is prone to violent outbursts towards his wife and children. As a child, Desmond runs along the idyllic fields of Virginia with his brother Harold. During one of their sibling fights, Desmond thwacks his brother upside the head with a brick. The traumatic moment along with his father’s violent outbursts instill in young Desmond a deep belief in avoiding violence.

15 years later, as America begins to enter World War II, Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) enlists in the Army despite his father’s objections, and is promised that he won’t have to carry gun and betray his religious beliefs while working as a medic. However, during his basic training his pacifism isn’t exactly warmly greeted by his fellow soldiers and commanding officers. Sergeant Howell (Vince Vaughn) and Captain Glover (Sam Worthington) put the young recruit through hell in the hopes of making him quit when he’s not able to be booted out of the Army due to psychological issues. Doss refuses to quit and battles for his right to serve without arm, and is ultimately victorious. On the battlefield in Okinawa, a brutal battle is waged between the American forces and the Japanese, with numerous casualties on both sides. As the Americans retreat, Doss stays behind giving medical aid and assistance to the wounded left behind, saving around 75 lives. A few days later when the battle resumes, Doss himself is severely wounded.

Also wrangled into Hacksaw Ridge is a rather rote and unnecessary love story between Desmond and his beloved Dorothy (Teresa Palmer). We’re witness to their courtship and marriage until the characters is pretty much completely excised from the film once the troops go overseas. This subplot offers nothing to the film as a whole, and doesn’t even come full circle at the end. It’s just an addition that offers a bit more bloat to the film.

What Mel Gibson has really achieved with Hacksaw Ridge is making a 1940s wartime propaganda film with modern day cinematic violence. Considering this is a movie that’s about a conscientious objector, Hacksaw Ridge is incredibly violent – heads are blown apart, limbs severed, bodies set ablaze, stabbings, shootings, just about any kind of brutality that you could possibly imagine. Like The Passion of the Christ, where Gibson was more concerned with the physical torture of Jesus than his teachings, Hacksaw Ridge overloads the audience with violence, even forgetting where Doss is during these ghastly battles, to revel in the various forms of bloodshed. The amount of time given to Doss’ heroic acts pales in comparison to the ample scenes documenting the gory devastation.

None of the Japanese are given even the slightest luxury of a name. Instead, they’re portrayed as a relentless hoard of bloodthirsty zombies that could easily have been swapped out with the undead hoards from World War Z. It wouldn’t be a problem if the film wasn’t about someone who saw everyone as human, even going as far to give aid to wounded Japanese soldiers. Even more baffling is Gibson’s choice to give us the violent death of an anonymous Japanese commander as he commits seppuku while his faithful assistant beheads him.

Hard as they try, none of the cast from Hacksaw Ridge are able to stand above the mired sentimentality and brutality in the script by Andrew Knight and Robert Schenkkan. Most of the soldiers that make up Doss’ unit are barely characters as opposed to simplistic archetypes pulled from better war movies. Garfield brings a doughy-eyed aw schucks demeanor to his pacifist hero. The rest of the cast is mostly serviceable given the lacking material they’re presented. However, there’s one bit of casting that is just woefully misguided. Hard as he may try, and he certainly does, Vince Vaughn is just not equipped to play a hard-ass drill instructor.

Hacksaw Ridge is Mel Gibson’s weakest effort as a director, one that feels hamstrung by budgetary limitations and Gibson’s infatuation with gruesome violence. The one reason that Hacksaw Ridge will stand apart from countless other war movies is simply due to the incongruent nature of its construction. It’s a film that extols the virtues of pacifism while reveling in ultraviolence. Non-violence has never been bloodier.

YogaOutlet.com

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Deon Taylor’s ‘Traffik’ Clears Up

Deon Taylor’s Traffik is an action thriller that follows Brea (Paula...

Super Troopers 2
‘Super Troopers 2’ Commits to Lazy, Uninspired Jokes About Canadians

The comedy troupe Broken Lizard created the cult comedy Super Troopers...

The Devil and Father Amorth
William Friedkin Revists ‘The Exorcist’ in the Ridiculous Documentary ‘The Devil and Father Amorth’

The Exorcist remains one of the high points of the horror...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Ripstone Games Announces ‘The Spectrum Retreat’ Coming This Year

BAFTA YGD Award Winner Dan Smith brings The Spectrum Retreat to PlayStation 4, Xbox...

Point-and-Click Horror Game Without Escape Heading to Steam

Myst-like point-and-click horror game Without Escape heading to Steam, itch.io and Windows...

Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr Release Date

Lesquin, FRANCE – April 19, 2018 – Neocore and Bigben, along...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
8.5/10
Bloodshot Salvation #8

Bloodshot Salvation #8  Story by: Jeff Lemire Art by: Renato Guedes Release...

VIZ Media Announces New Manga Acquisitions at C2E2 2018

New Titles Announced For Publication Include Junji Ito’s FRANKENSTEIN, The JUNI...

Japanese Metal Dance Unit BABYMETAL Becomes a Graphic Novel!

Z2 Comics Announces APOCRYPHA: THE LEGEND OF BABYMETAL, An Original Graphic...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
MSI Unveils New Line of Gaming Laptops Powered by Intel 8th Generation Processors

The new line includes GS65 Stealth Thin; the GT75 Titan, the...

Brewery Ommegang and HBO® announce Queen of the Seven Kingdoms Beer

Brewery Ommegang and HBO® announce Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, second beer in Game...

New 120Hz Model of Critically-Acclaimed 35-Inch Curved AGON Gaming Monitor

AOC Announces New 120Hz Model of its Critically-Acclaimed 35-Inch Curved AGON...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Bas Rutten Talks Kicking Opioid Addiction with the Help of Receptra CBD Oil

  One of the most decorated MMA champions and UFC Hall...

Roxy Astor Meets With GLOW…the Netflix Version

As much as people love drama, there was nothing but love...

LFC 25 Showdown at Sam’s Town Full Results

Updating the tradition of Foxy Boxing in what I like to...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
COMICS on the CAN – X-CLUB!

Science Hoooooo! The X-Club pulls out the super bork on eleven...

Samo Says – Easter in Jerusalem, Finding Holiness in the Face of Temptation

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them...

Adult Continuity – Defenders XXX

Who wants to see a low budget porn parody of the...

Event News Event Reviews
FINAL FANTASY XIV Orchestra Concert 2018 – Eorzean Symphony

FINAL FANTASY XIV Orchestra Concert 2018 – Eorzean Symphony Performed live...

Back To The Beach Festival Returns to Surf City April 28th and 29th

KROQ, Travis Barker and John Feldmann come together to announce Back...

Wondercon Anaheim 2018 in Photos

Last weekend was Wondercon 2018 at the Anaheim Convention Center in...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Gaming Uncensored: Year in Review 2016

A look back at the year in gaming. Related

Gaming Uncensored Roundtable: December 2016

December’s roundtable discusses story in games with Chad, Josh, and Spencer....

Gaming Uncensored: Podcast #349

Jamie reflects on some of his time with the HTC Vive....

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Rising Country Music Artist Kaylin Roberson Talks About her work with St. Jude

Kaylin Roberson is a singer, songwriter and pianist from Raleigh, North...

MTV Unveils Performers for ‘TRL Live’ on October 3rd at 3 p.m. E.T.

NEW YORK, NY (September 26, 2017) – MTV today announced that...

Long Beach Punk Band ‘Spider’ Rocks ‘It’s Not Dead’ Festival

Spider is a heavy hitting punk band out of Long Beach,...

%d bloggers like this: