★★★★★ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki
"Help me get one more. Help me get one more." That's an amazing & emotional quote from Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge, one of the best war films in recent memory. The film is based on the true story of Pvt. Desmond Doss, who saved 75 lives during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II without holding a gun. Garfield portrays Doss, who grew up in Lynchburg, Virginia, with his brother, Hal (played by Nathaniel Buzolic) & his parents, Bertha (played by Rachel Griffiths) & Tom (played by Hugo Weaving), who is an abusive alcoholic, never getting over the deaths of his childhood friends in World War I. After almost hitting his brother in a play fight with a brick as a kid, Desmond's religious beliefs are reinforced, especially in the Sixth Commandment: "Thou shalt not kill." Years later, Doss is now in his late-teens, & becomes smitten with a nurse, Dorothy Schutte (played by Teresa Palmer).
After Hal enlists in the Army, Desmond enlists as well. Since he is a conscientious objector due to his Seventh-Day Adventist beliefs, Desmond enlists as a medic. At basic training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, under the command of Sgt. Howell (played by Vince Vaughn), Desmond becomes an outcast because of his refusal to carry a gun nor train on Saturdays, as that is the Sabbath for Seventh-Day Adventists. After several setbacks, including an arrest for insubordination due to his refusal to carry a gun, Desmond is eventually allowed to go into battle without a firearm. He is then sent to Okinawa, where he saves 75 lives, some who were close to death.
The cast was superb. Mel Gibson's direction was spectacular, along with the screenplay by Andrew Knight & Robert Schenkkan. The editing by John Gilbert is excellent. The cinematography by Simon Duggan is amazing. The film score by Rupert Gregson-Williams is excellent. And the battle scenes are some of the best ever in film. This is definitely one of the year's best films.