Hacksaw Ridge reviews

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 6717
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: Hacksaw Ridge reviews

Postby Sabin » Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:13 am

"I ain't got answers to questions that big. I also feel like my values are under attack." (00:51:44)

There was something about that line that just made my heart sink in a way that I can't really be objective about. I can put my distaste for Mel Gibson to one side. I can even meet him halfway with a film this corny AND bloody if it's a solid piece of storytelling (which it is and it isn't). But once I hit that line, I just hit the pause button and took a second to walk around the room and get my head back on straight. Yes, this is a movie about a Christian whose values are under attack by an army that would prefer he not die or possibly end up killing them all. He's not simply a conscientious objector. As the film goes on, he is literally a Christian on trial for his beliefs. Mel Gibson has made the alt-right movie of the year for sure, but maybe the reason why Hacksaw Ridge wasn't a hit like American Sniper was instead of being about a deadly sniper, it was about a man who wouldn't pick up a gun. But standing against political correctness, Hacksaw Ridge is not afraid to call Japanese "Nips" and "Japs" and depict them as our enemy. That's for the "Call them terrorists!" crowd.

But is this a work of faith? Not exactly. Mel Gibson makes an odd choice to shoot the war without perspective. He'll shoot it from the point of view of the Japanese who charge, scream, and fire. This gives the film the appearance of war games that undermines what (I think?) he's trying to do: 1) tell the passion play of Desmond Doss, 2) finally do his World War II movie. In no way shape or form does Andrew Garfield deserve a nomination. He's largely just doing one facial expression. He lends the film a lot of credibility with his commitment to this character. But the most interesting aspect of the film is how it takes a character who would largely be a one-dimensional stock character in another movie, and turn the war into an externalization of his inner-conflict. It's just not an elegant one. The war in Hacksaw Ridge never seemed like hell. Just a war movie.

I think Hacksaw Ridge might've been a pacifist classic seventy years ago. But it doesn't play pacifist or classic today.
Philomena is one of the year's best Philomenas!

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 6717
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: Hacksaw Ridge reviews

Postby Sabin » Thu Dec 15, 2016 3:47 pm

The Original BJ wrote
I think a Best Picture nomination for this would be pretty ludicrous, but it clearly seems possible. I do have to question whether the Directors' branch of the Academy will go for this, though. The battle at Hacksaw Ridge is certainly a logistically "big" set piece, which I imagine will impress some. But the directors usually don't go for stuff that's this retro -- they're far more likely to pick out someone quirkier for citation based on precedent. I guess the question becomes how strong the Gibson comeback narrative is.

I'm watching it soon. I'm intrigued how this film will factor into the race.

I wonder who the DGA will nominate. Damien Chazelle, Barry Jenkins, and Kenneth Lonergan seem pretty assured. Having just seen Fences, I'm having a hard time seeing them nominate Denzel Washington for what is a pretty visually ungainly thing. Denis Villeneuve is being tapped for some huge projects which implies some industry confidence in his work, but it's still pretty hard science-fiction. Silence seems to be diving people. It's possible that Jackie's comeback will begin with this group like Capote. I think David Mackenzie could be someone that nobody is thinking enough about. Hell or High Water maybe low-key but it's pretty well-regarded. Given this group, I think Mel Gibson, who's already won a DGA Award, has to have a shot. But possible that it registers with every guild in the world but Academy voters just say "Nope, sorry asshole."
Philomena is one of the year's best Philomenas!

The Original BJ
Emeritus
Posts: 3741
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2003 8:49 pm

Re: Hacksaw Ridge reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Tue Dec 13, 2016 2:58 pm

The major nominations finally got me to trudge grudgingly to see this last night. (In the spirit of being thankful for small favors -- at least it was free.) And, though I tried to go in with an open mind, most of my fears were realized -- I think this is pretty clearly the worst of all the season's award contenders, and I'm fairly horrified it's even gotten as far as it has.

Watching the movie in context of having seen all of those WWII screenplay nominees from the '40's and '50's certainly didn't do it any favors. Because (except for the levels of violence), this movie feels like it could have been made in the era it's set in, and seventy years later, all those same hokey cliches now just come off even cornier. The opening chunk, in particular, is very weak -- same-old same-old portrait of small-town American life, domineering father, beyond bland romance, basic training cliches. Once it gets into dealing with its central dilemma -- Desmond's faith and his desire to serve in the military without holding a rifle -- it becomes a bit more interesting by nature, but of course, Gibson (and his writers) depict all of this in the shallowest terms imaginable. (I wondered what a filmmaker like Eastwood would have done with this story -- you'd have to imagine that that version might have shown Desmond feeling some doubts over the degree to which he's putting himself and his compatriots in danger, and that's the kind of complexity this movie is sorely lacking.)

The last chunk of the movie involves the battle at Hacksaw Ridge, a sequence that honestly had me asking for most its running time, what is the purpose of me watching this? Gibson's love for shock violence is so crass, I didn't find the experience sobering (like, say, the opening of Saving Private Ryan) as much as an assault on the senses. And my god, it goes on so LONG -- at one point, after everyone has made it back down from the ridge, I assumed the sequence had to be over. But nope, the next morning, everyone goes right back up there for more of the same. This portion of the movie didn't elucidate much of anything about anything for me, except the script's reliance on lame cliches -- we are way past the point where "We've got company!" can be used un-ironically in a movie -- and Gibson's need to beatify his protagonist as a Christ figure.

And yet, through all this, I do think the movie has one redeeming element, and that's Andrew Garfield's performance. Not saying this is the kind of role that merits Best Actor nominations -- the vehicle is just too shallow for that. But I think he finds all sorts of interesting grace notes that a less interesting actor wouldn't have, and though the movie is bland, he certainly is not. I think both this and Silence suggest that he has pretty clear potential to be among the best actors of his generation, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing what he does in the years up ahead.

I think a Best Picture nomination for this would be pretty ludicrous, but it clearly seems possible. I do have to question whether the Directors' branch of the Academy will go for this, though. The battle at Hacksaw Ridge is certainly a logistically "big" set piece, which I imagine will impress some. But the directors usually don't go for stuff that's this retro -- they're far more likely to pick out someone quirkier for citation based on precedent. I guess the question becomes how strong the Gibson comeback narrative is.

danfrank
Temp
Posts: 313
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:19 pm
Location: Oakland, CA

Re: Hacksaw Ridge reviews

Postby danfrank » Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:00 pm

This looks godawful. An überviolent movie about a pacifist? I'll be skipping this one. Look for it to do mondo box office in the heartland. I hope Tee's wrong about it getting a slew of nominations, but I won't be surprised if it does. Did I mention I can't stand Mel Gibson? As both a filmmaker and a human being?

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 6717
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: Hacksaw Ridge reviews

Postby Sabin » Sun Sep 04, 2016 4:43 pm

I have more mixed feelings about Mel Gibson than possibly any other figure in film history. Braveheart was the film that got me into movies. Going to see Braveheart on the big screen was a deeply formative experience for me. I remember literally praying that it would win Best Picture. If God is up there, he heard my prayer and I'm damned to never see another favorite film of mine win again. When I saw Braveheart again in 1997 (back when it took years for films to come out on video), I wasn't as impressed, and every subsequent viewing of the film, my appreciation of it has diminished. And since then he's been revealed as an anti-Semitic, homophobic, religious nut. Months ago, there was a debate of who would be worse for America, Ted Cruz or Donald Trump. Well, I honestly have no idea if Mel Gibson would be a Trump voter or a Cruz voter, but neither would surprise me, and that doesn't speak of well of the man.

And yet, I owe him. Movies have been the compass of my life. It's possible another film would have swept me up for the ride but that doesn't change the fact that he did.

I can't imagine that Hacksaw Ridge will score a Best Picture nomination but it might end up as the film with the most nominations not up for the top prize and possibly more than several up for the big one.
Philomena is one of the year's best Philomenas!

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 5757
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Hacksaw Ridge reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Sep 04, 2016 2:27 pm

Mel Gibson's latest seems to be getting some good response, so reviews are posted here.

I remain personally dubious, because 1) the favorable reviews are referencing Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto as impressive predecessors, and they're two movies I found unbearable for their brutality; and 2) I have some suspicion these critics are like the political pundits ever searching for the "Trump pivot": tired of writing the story one way and anxious for a freshened narrative.

http://variety.com/2016/film/reviews/ha ... 201851851/

http://www.screendaily.com/reviews/hack ... tentID=592

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review ... ice-925666


Return to “2016”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest