Awards Won: Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing
You know those clickbait ads you see that say, “This Is Why [Actor Name] NEVER Works Anymore”? Weirdly enough, you never see Mel Gibson featured in them. Mel Gibson has said many things, some anti-Semitic, some misogynistic, some racist, all bad. As a result, he didn’t direct movies for ten years, until 2016, when he made Hacksaw Ridge. Now, Mel Gibson is a bad person, but bad people can theoretically make good movies that are not representative of their awful views. Hacksaw Ridge is a bad movie that is representative of Mel Gibson’s own views. The movie is regressive, racist trash that succeeds in being a pastiche of war propaganda films.
It tells the real life story of the life of soldier Desmond Doss (played by Andrew Garfield), who has a perfect, Christian life until World War II happens, and he enlists, but as a conscientious objector, meaning he refuses to use weapons or kill anyone. The movie quickly switches from by-the-numbers melodrama to a horrific war film, showing soldiers getting murdered in increasingly violent ways as Doss attempts to survive and save others. The Japanese soldiers are described as devious and evil before they even show up and are seen to be the racist, monstrous caricatures that the American soldiers believe they are, the horror film villains to our beloved Christian hero, who “isn’t” implicit in the violence.
The movie is in love with its own violence, glorifying it and showing more blood than some horror movies that came out that year. It’s a nasty film with awful intentions, made by an awful man. Sadly, Hacksaw Ridge was critically acclaimed, and its success only marks the beginning of a career resurgence for Gibson.