Hacksaw Ridge will have you on your feet from start to finish

by Ethan Hart, Reporter

Hacksaw Ridge, starring Andrew Garfield and Teresa Palmer, will enter this year’s Oscar Academy Awards with six nominations. Some of these nominations include Best Picture and Best Actor, highlighting Andrew Garfield’s stunning performance. Mel Gibson also has been nominated for Best Director.

The movie tells the astonishing true story of the life of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), the persistent conscientious objector that entered the front lines of the Battle of Okinawa in World War II without a weapon and saved 75 men’s lives. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroics.

The film begins and builds up with Desmond’s small town upbringing, which shaped his morals and beliefs. Young Desmond (Darcy Bryce) and his devout Catholic family live near Lynchburg, Virginia. Father Tom Doss (Hugo Weaving) suffers from PTSD and constantly abuses his wife (Rachel Griffiths). This alone continuously haunts Desmond, who at many times in the movie has flashbacks of laying in his bed at night, listening in horror as his parents argue.

The basis of Desmond’s character as a conscientious objector is derived from the seventh commandment of The Bible, which states that “thou shalt not kill.” This devotion comes from a time where Desmond is fighting with his brother Harold and strikes him in the head with a brick. Hal is knocked unconscious, leaving Desmond with the horror that he could’ve killed his own brother.

As time passes, Desmond continues to grow and turn into the loving teenage mama’s boy who embodies Christian life and action. He takes a visit to the hospital to visit a boy whose life he saved, and meets nurse Dorothy Schutte (Teresa Palmer) and falls in love. Andrew Garfield’s boyish looks and innocence are a big contributor to his exemplary acting performance, as he woos Dorothy through kindness and a big heart.

Harold Doss enlists for the military, and Desmond realizes that he must do his time in service. Both boys anger their father, who claims that the boys only wear the uniform for the pride and popularity it brings.

Before his departure for boot camp, Desmond tells Dorothy of his plans, and she is distraught at the thought of losing him. They decide to get engaged and Dorothy pleads him to return home for her when it’s all over.

One of the most inspiring aspects of the film is Desmond’s sheer will and strength of character. His refusal to change who is he is and his obedient belief in his faith serves as a true inspiration. This is especially shown when his troop members beat him in his sleep, and Sgt. Howell tells him to leave. In response, Desmond denies being beaten and gets dressed to join the rest of the troop in training.

One of the most appealing aspects of Hacksaw Ridge is the sound quality, which also has been nominated for the Oscar of Best Sound Editing. The splattering of blood, the thunderous gunshots, and the rain showers of fire and bombs in the Battle of Okinawa aid in one of the most memorable battle scenes I have seen in any war movie.

Cinematography is at a premium here, especially in the Battle of Okinawa. Precise angles capture the battle, which was the bloodiest in World War II. Cameras went in depth to fatal shots and deaths, and zoomed in to faces to emphasize emotion, as well as the characteristics of warfare.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of the movie as a whole is the phenomenal performance of Andrew Garfield as Desmond Doss. I feel that Garfield’s personality and appearance perfectly reflect the character of Desmond, a young country soul whose life is built around God. Watching Desmond fall in love with Dorothy isn’t just chick-flick perfect, and made the audience that was myself get to experience something that felt so real.

I did buy this movie out of my own pocket, and I can surely say that it was money well spent. There is not dull spot, and the acting and cinematography are some of the best I have seen this year. As far as my predictions go, I believe Andrew Garfield will win a tightly contested race for Best Actor, and the film will win Best Sound Editing. However, like many others, I predict La La Land to execute a near perfect sweep of all the major Oscar awards, such as Best Picture and Best Director. The Oscars airs on February 26th on ABC at 8:30.