HACKSAW RIDGE is firmly in Mel Gibson’s wheelhouse. It’s a brutal depiction of an inspiring true story with copious religious symbolism with a lot of Australians in it. From a very earnest beginning, the film becomes pretty horrific in its imagery, a full-on body horror with explosions. I’m all for war being presented as brutally as it is, but I still find the tone and construction of the battle scenes weird: they look too carefully choreographed and feel calculated. I know plenty of filmmakers have religious hangups, but it’s a case of Scorsese’s guilty, inward-looking Catholicism vs Gibson’s somewhat worrying bordering-on-zealotry (though Andrew Garfield is better in the this than in SILENCE). Gibson brings it back with a rousing finale which takes much dramatic license and some moving archive footage before the credits. You still feel like you’ve been put through an unnecessary ordeal, an almost perverse revelry in battlefield gore, but the emotional connection thankfully remains. SSP
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Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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