Equally horrific and touching.
Despite its melodramatic tactics (most of them avoided feeling forced despite inherent cheesiness), Hacksaw Ridge delivers a poignant character study and shows the miraculous power of sticking to ones convictions. Im not a fan of religious movies or it in general but this film weaves it skillfully and tastefully into its universal message of compassion and preserverance. And removal of the faith aspect wouldve completely deassembled the story entirely and disrespected the real lives involved. From Desmonds home life, and budding romace to his training and legal battles to the blood soiked hills of the titular battlefield we really feel we are friends with him. This couldve easily fell into A hagiography but it manages to avoid that by showing his internal striggles of gaith and composure even if he always gives the final impression of sweetness (its not like any person or document can attest to the contrary). Supporting players such as Hugo Weaving as Doss Sr and Vince Vaugn as the rough, skeptical yet supportive leader add further nuances to the film. The movie does not demonize those who at first take offense to Doss refusing to fight and we see them grow as well. The combat scenes are expertly staged and offer some glimses of grim poetry and put us in the mind of those in the hellish landscape. If there was one critisism i have, its the sometimes distracting use of cgi blood spurts. You have this somber tone and look yet it looks like a video game when people get shot. I can even handle the over the top manipulative symbolism at the end, by that point i just felt it was deserved.
This is an exceptionally gory movie even by war standards. Saving Private Ryan looks PG rated by comparison. I cant even list instnaces like i normally do. Some include having ones face ejected with bullets from behind, half a body used as a human shield and grisly leftovers after every engagement. Its also worth noting that the movie does little to humanize the Japanese (aside from a scene of Desmond helping an injured enemy troop who is just as reluctant to fight as Doss), however it doesnt nearly go as far as Passion arguably demonized Jews. Now i know im making this sound like a signature Mel Gibson torture porn (please dont let that name dissaude you from the whole movie) but while some may argue ceryain isntances are gratuitous, i believe it offers adequate juxtoposition for the main character himself. Again the positive themes mitigate the violent content as does the fact the first half of the movie is mostly void of it. If this was all war n hope it wouldve been 18 easily.