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“Hacksaw Ridge”

**** & 1/2 stars

“Hacksaw Ridge”

Summit Entertainment

Biography/War

(R)

I envision climactic moments in war films going back decades; when I see soldiers coming over the threshold with guns in hand, bullets and bombs sounding all around them, as they face their enemies. War movies, such as Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan” (1998), Ken Annakin and Andrew Marton’s “The Longest Day” (1962), Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” (1979), Raoul Walsh’s “Objective, Burma” (1945), to name a few, that left me hanging on to my seat. “Hacksaw Ridge” is no different.

Andrew Garfield, as Desmond Doss, a Seventh-day Adventist and a conscientious objector, feels it’s his duty to serve in the Army during World War II except without touching a gun. Of course, this stance of refusing to carry a gun is in direct conflict with the Army’s policy. However, Doss’ stance doesn’t sit well with his superiors or his fellow soldiers in the barracks where he faces persecution. The men are training to go to Okinawa in the Pacific Theater. He’s even arrested for not following orders just when he’s about to go home to marry his girlfriend Dorothy (Teresa Schuttle).

Doss is permitted to be an Army medic which pays off great dividends by his heroic feats saving at least 75 men without firing a shot.

Flashbacks to a domestic tangle, between his mother and father in his boyhood years when Doss comes close to shooting his dad, may have contributed to refusal to use a gun in addition to his religious beliefs.

Director Mel Gibson lays out the graphic war scenes with an intensity and passion he’s known for in “Braveheart” (1995), “The Passion of the Christ” (2004) and “Apocalypto” (2006). But isn’t war what it is–graphic? What’s more, war always has sanguineous consequences.

It’s not a question if “Hacksaw Ridge” is worthy of serious Oscar consideration, it is any director’s but Mel Gibson for the taking. Indeed, Gibson, rightly or wrongly, is probably on the Academy’s Enemies List.   

(Desmond T. Doss), Vince Vaughn (Sergeant Howell), Sam Worthington (Captain Glover), Hug Weaving (Tom Doss), Luke Bracey (Smitty ) ,Milo Gibson (Lucky Ford), Matt Noble (Lt. Cooney), Richard Roxburgh (Colonel Stellzer), Ryan Corr (Lt. Manville). Running time:131 minutes. (R)

Director :Mel Gibson.

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