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Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

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Gibson next gets back behind the camera to direct Hacksaw Ridge, with Andrew Garfield playing Desmond T Doss, the first conscientious objector in U.S. history to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. Doss was a U.S. Army medic who served in World War II during the Battle of Okinawa and refused to kill. President Truman awarded him the Medal of Honor for saving so many lives.

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Coming November 4, just in time for awards season. Reportedly has "faith-based nuances". Which probably explains why the studio bumped what would have been its *other* "faith-based" film that month, i.e. The Shack, to the following year.

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I have to admit, I got a little choked up when I saw this trailer yesterday. Looks like it could be a *very* powerful portrayal of one man's self-sacrifice and refusal to compromise his principles, etc., etc. The whole saving-the-lives-of-the-men-who-persecuted-you thing. Ah, dang, I'm getting misty-eyed just *writing* this now.

When I first heard of the film a few months ago, I had an idea that it might be the "Christian World War II movie" that many people had hoped Unbroken would be, just because it follows a Christian protagonist into a battlefield, etc. But I had no idea, until I saw this trailer, just how much the film would emphasize the difficulties he faced with his fellow soldiers.

A *lot* of people have retweeted the link to my blog post with this trailer -- way, way more than people usually retweet my stuff -- so if *that's* any indication as to how big this movie could be, at least within a certain demographic...

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Gibson doesn't know the meaning of the world subtle (GRENADE KICK!), but he has a sense of showmanship and conviction that goes all the way back to classic Hollywood. In other words, Gibson makes BIG movies. Big spectacle. Big emotion.

With Hacksaw Ridge, it appears that Gibson took a premise that could have been made into tedious Oscar bait and made an honest-to-goodness movie out of it.

I don't know whether I'll like this film. I've been at odds with Gibson more often than not and wouldn't stand behind any of his films to date.

That trailer has verve, though.

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1 hour ago, Ryan H. said:

Gibson doesn't know the meaning of the world subtle.

That trailer has verve, though.

You don't think the opening shot with the flaming, spinning body was subtle? :)

Capture.JPG

Seriously, though, this movie looks pretty good.

 

Edited by morgan1098

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Andrew Garfield is on track to become Hollywood's new go-to saint.

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Overstreet wrote:
: Andrew Garfield is on track to become Hollywood's new go-to saint.

Especially in movies about clashes between the West and Japan.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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So apparently Mel Gibson and his 26-year-old girlfriend are expecting a baby (Gibson's ninth). This may or may not make the "faith-based" marketing push around this film a little more... interesting. (FWIW, the mother of his previous child is currently 46. I don't know how old Gibson's ex-wife is, but she and Gibson were married in 1980 and they had seven kids between 1980 and 1999.)

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Evan C   

This might be my favorite film that Gibson's directed. It has a little bit of his typical excess, but there's a real focus on beauty - in nature, in following one's convictions, among healthy human relationships, and in reconciliations between people. His recreation of the hell of the battle is quite draining, as I'm sure it was intended to be, but the central story is really well told, and the film clearly shows his visual abilities.

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Richard Brody @ New Yorker:

- - -

The hardest thing to film is ordinary life—to make it exist on its own, not as a set of details that add up to perfect explanations for characters’ actions. The Dosses are Seventh-Day Adventists, but the film gives no sense of a religious community—or, if there is one, whether the Dosses are isolated in theirs. Is Desmond alone an outlier in faith? (The extended, meticulous portrait of the life of devout Christians in a small Tennessee farming town is among the best things in Howard Hawks’s “Sergeant York,” from 1941, in which Gary Cooper plays a conscientious objector who becomes a battlefield hero during the First World War..)

Gibson does a feeble job of rendering Desmond’s ordinary life—before the war, when his sole traits involve his love for the nurse Dorothy Schutte (Teresa Palmer) and their rapid, bland, and brief courtship; during the war, when his sole trait is the steadfastness of his faith and his devotion to his military service; and, above all, his ordinary practice of religion with extraordinary faith. The power of religion becomes a blank, with no particulars, no details, no substance. Desmond’s devotion to the Bible yields no parables, no diction, no favorite stories, no specific references. Throughout his service, Desmond carries a small Bible that Dorothy gave him and into which she slipped an inscribed photo of herself—and, although he opens that Bible often, Gibson shows him staring at the picture, not contemplating the text. Desmond’s devotion is depicted as devoid of practice and thought; he sticks to the two Commandments that are the cornerstones of his faith. (The one about keeping the Sabbath leads to a droll yet earnest subplot.) Doss’s heroic actions are marvels; the faith that motivates those actions is not conveyed.

- - -

(I miss the indent feature.)

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BethR   

This review/commentary by a Seventh Day Adventist blogger brings a perspective I don't think we've seen here yet: https://trudymorgancole.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/hacksaw-ridge/

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FWIW, Lionsgate is not only sending out FYC screeners to critics but doing the rare (in my experience) move of requesting feedback from critics to whom screeners are sent. (Studio is also sending out La La Land.)
 

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I saw this last Monday and really enjoyed it. Of the eight films I saw in theatres thus far this year, it's been my favourite (second is Hell or Highwater).

Edited by winter shaker

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Interesting to note that this movie is now more highly rated on IMDb than Inglorious Basterds, is the highest ranked film released in 2016, and is overall ranked #90 of all time. 

I saw it last night, finally. I was inspired and moved. It made me think, "What small beans are my problems!" when compared to what these men had to face going over that ridge.

Of all the Gibson movies I've seen (bracketing The Man without a Face, which doesn't contain any violence that I can recall), I found I could tolerate the violence the best. The car crash scene at the beginning, with its frank, unpretentious shot of the protruding bone, did a good job of setting up the frank, unpretentious tone of much of the battle violence. But I did have to look away occasionally. I was glad I didn't buy popcorn.

The whole movie, not just the approach to violence, was unpretentious. One particular scene, where Dawes loses a man he'd recently come to befriend, impressed me especially.

 

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Brian D   

What SDG said : http://decentfilms.com/reviews/hacksawridge  The word "thrilling" is mentioned in this review.  As I think about it, I rarely ever seek out movies these days that are described as "thrilling" in an old-Hollywood sense.  That could be one of the reasons I am so taken aback when a movie, as with this film's final hour, does actually thrill me. 

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