Hacksaw Ridge reviews

Sabin
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Re: Hacksaw Ridge reviews

Postby Sabin » Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:43 pm

Bog wrote
On a related note...I struggle to understand the Garfield nom and simultaneously cannot decide who may be a worthy AND legitimate replacement... Peter Simonischek the former not latter, Hanks or maybe Edgerton the reverse. Maybe Adam Driver is the big loser here.

For the Academy? Nobody. I fooled myself into thinking that Gibson couldn't be forgiven yet by the Academy so I went with Jake Gyllenhaal for Nocturnal Animals on the basis of his BAFTA nom, which was foolish. The "math" was there for Garfield.

This is the second year in a row where the Best Actor race has felt a bit sparse. I think this is the new normal. I agree that Andrew Garfield should've been nominated for Silence instead of Hacksaw Ridge. Tom Hanks for Sully, Joel Edgerton for Loving, Michael Keaton for The Founder. I think stronger performances were in films off the beaten path like Colin Farrell for The Lobster. I haven't seen Paterson yet, but I'm sure Adam Driver. Peter Simonischek could have for Toni Erdmann if the film had received a bigger crossover push. Jack Nicholson is now pushing to play the father in the remake. Had that news broken before voting began, it might've attracted some more viewership or votes. Maybe Hugh Grant should've gone for broke as lead in Florence Foster Jenkins. Best Actor was a weaker field.

Ultimately, if Ruth Negga can get past Amy Adams for Arrival, Annette Bening for 20th Century Women, and Taraji P. Henson for Hidden Figures, then Joel Edgerton probably placed sixth, and not undeservingly. I don't care for Loving as a film but is the only aspect of the film worth recommending.
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Re: Hacksaw Ridge reviews

Postby dws1982 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:46 am

Bog wrote:
ITALIANO wrote: On a related note...I struggle to understand the Garfield nom and simultaneously cannot decide who may be a worthy AND legitimate replacement... Peter Simonischek the former not latter, Hanks or maybe Edgerton the reverse. Maybe Adam Driver is the big loser here.

I would've replaced Garfield with himself, for Silence, although I know not many are going to agree with me on that. I would've gladly nominated Hanks over anyone except Affleck, and probably would do the same for Chris Pine in Hell or High Water. Haven't seen a lot from 2016 yet, though.

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Re: Hacksaw Ridge reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:24 am

Bog wrote:
ITALIANO wrote: And especially when it comes to a character like this, a more problematic approach wouldn't have been bad.


And therein lies the problem...whatever epic ability (all 4 major efforts) or extreme conviction (all 4 major efforts) Gibson possesses, no matter the naivete, blindness, or inaccuracy...does not extend to the actors. I am thoroughly shocked anyone sees this performance any differently than himself in Braveheart or Caviezel in Passion.


Yes. My positive reaction to the movie was limited to its "epic" factor - an aspect which several movies strive for and often fail. Even intelligent, well-educated directors can miserably fall through - a typical example being Mankiewicz with his Cleopatra. Mel Gibson - like it or not, and he's politically at the opposite side of what I believe in - here clearly achieves that. But epics don't require "great" acting - otherwise Charlton Heston would have been the greatest actor ever. And Andrew Garfield, while probably talented, gives a serviceable, predictably "inspirational" performance in this movie. I'm sure he can and will do better things in the future.

Oh and by the way it's not like he (who's often rightly compared to Anthony Perkins) doesn't have a dark side, and such side wouldn't have been completely out of place in this character. But Gibson's approach was clearly a different one.

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Re: Hacksaw Ridge reviews

Postby Bog » Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:32 pm

ITALIANO wrote: And especially when it comes to a character like this, a more problematic approach wouldn't have been bad.


And therein lies the problem...whatever epic ability (all 4 major efforts) or extreme conviction (all 4 major efforts) Gibson possesses, no matter the naivete, blindness, or inaccuracy...does not extend to the actors. I am thoroughly shocked anyone sees this performance any differently than himself in Braveheart or Caviezel in Passion.

On a related note...I struggle to understand the Garfield nom and simultaneously cannot decide who may be a worthy AND legitimate replacement... Peter Simonischek the former not latter, Hanks or maybe Edgerton the reverse. Maybe Adam Driver is the big loser here.

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Re: Hacksaw Ridge reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:48 am

criddic3 wrote:
ITALIANO wrote:
criddic3 wrote:The thing about Andrew Garfield's performance that some people seem to miss is that he's spot-on for the real life person that we see at the end of the movie.


Acting isn't just imitating.

We understand who he is, why he does what he does and how his relationships inspire his actions. That's more than enough I believe.


Understanding, criddic, isn't enough - not for me, and I guess this is another difference between Europe and the US. I want to be challenged, I want to think... Easy explanations aren't what I look for in a performance or in a movie. I will say more: I sometimes prefer not to understand - not too soon at least. I like when I have to try. And especially when it comes to a character like this, a more problematic approach wouldn't have been bad.

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Re: Hacksaw Ridge reviews

Postby criddic3 » Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:43 am

ITALIANO wrote:
criddic3 wrote:The thing about Andrew Garfield's performance that some people seem to miss is that he's spot-on for the real life person that we see at the end of the movie.


Acting isn't just imitating.


Oh I'm fully aware of this. I think Garfield gives a fully embodied and rounded character. We understand who he is, why he does what he does and how his relationships inspire his actions. That's more than enough I believe.
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Re: Hacksaw Ridge reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:19 am

criddic3 wrote:The thing about Andrew Garfield's performance that some people seem to miss is that he's spot-on for the real life person that we see at the end of the movie.


Acting isn't just imitating.

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Re: Hacksaw Ridge reviews

Postby criddic3 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 1:21 am

The thing about Andrew Garfield's performance that some people seem to miss is that he's spot-on for the real life person that we see at the end of the movie. I think he did a great job in this role, and I absolutely think he deserves this nomination. He should have been there for "The Social Network."
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Re: Hacksaw Ridge reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Wed Feb 08, 2017 4:34 pm

The good thing about Hacksaw Ridge is that it's a rare American war movie which isn't full of American propaganda - no American flags no black soldiers (yes, I know, in the REAL battle there may have been black soldiers, and not showing them in the movie might be racist - but then even HAVING to put blacks everywhere is today a sign of American racism), etc.
The bad thing about Hacksaw Ridge is that it's religious propaganda - which isn't much better, of course. The movie is really out of nowhere - a script as corny as those from the 40s mixed with extreme and very contemporary violence. It's not a movie which I'd have watched if it hadn't been Oscar-nominated, and it's not even that well acted.
Still - one can't deny that Mel Gibson is sincere. He obviously believes in his material, and this conviction, naive and blind as it may be, provides the movie with what power it has (and towards the end, when the act of heroism is shown, there IS some power). Epics don't have to be subtle. Epics don't even to be "correct". And epics are often about "heroes" who are politically and idologically very distant from our own beliefs and ideas. In its last 20 minutes Hacksaw Ridge becomes epic, and this is something which, like it or not, we owe to Mel Gibson the director.

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Re: Hacksaw Ridge reviews

Postby dws1982 » Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:34 pm

I'm probably an easier sell for this than most--I'm the grandson of two World War II veterans (one Pacific, one Europe) who I never really knew--and I've always been something of a World War II buff. If I remember right, I said something about how it had a weak beginning, decent middle, and solid end, which is fairly close to how you felt. I'm probably more positive than you--I think the last act is very strong indeed, and the best filmmaking I've seen from Gibson. I felt like the first act, straight out of a 1940's war biopic, was written, directed, shot, designed, and acted that way intentionally, although I also couldn't figure out why it took that approach, when act two was so different, and act three was so different from the previous two. I did like Garfield, especially in that final act, although I think his nomination should've been for Silence instead--and I do think he should've been nominated this year. Still not quite sure why they never made any effort to make any type of Oscar campaign for Hugo Weaving, who has a fairly traditional supporting role, and is quite good in it. As far as Best Picture nominees go, I think they've definitely done worse in the expanded era. Kind of interested to see where it lands with me if I watch it again.

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Re: Hacksaw Ridge reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Mon Jan 23, 2017 1:33 pm

Didn't dws1982 write something about this film? I've been unable to find it anywhere, and I'm interested because I seem to recall he had some more favorable things to say about it than Sabin or BJ.

About the time the film arrived at Hacksaw Ridge, I held roughly the same view of the film as BJ. The stuff back in Virginia was the worst parts of Sergeant York -- or any ordinary-folk-back-home prologue to a war movie -- with Garfield and his girlfriend acting like Disney animatronics trying to approximate human beings. (Garfield came off worst: playing it so simple he seemed borderline retarded.) Then the boot camp stuff recalled only about 1000 other movies I've seen (most especially the far superior From Here to Eternity, once they started giving Doss The Treatment). The battle with the bureaucracy was the most interesting thing by far in the first hour, but even that segment had its hokey elements.

Once we got to Okinawa, I had to acknowledge the combat scenes were made with flair -- far more than I recall Gibson displaying in Braveheart. Images were memorable here, and the overall look impressive. But I took a look at the time, and thought to myself, almost an hour more of this? Especially because it had turned into a film about bullets flying and people being incinerated, and it was hard to figure how all that connected to a film ostensibly about Doss and his convictions.

And then came the long rescue sequence, which, I have to say, for me, elevated the film. At the very least, I finally understood why the film had been made: this was truly a unique, memorable story; an act of bravery and selflessness that's almost unimaginable. I can't say Gibson directed the film to get the most of this material -- I think his own obsession with violence gets in the way of truly understanding Doss' mindset. But, for me, this last 45 minutes largely redeemed the film (barring that last-second ascent to heaven, which rates sneers).

There's still no way in the world I'd be putting this up for awards, but the last part of the film managed to surpass my extremely low expectations.

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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.
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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."
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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.

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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?


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