Mel Gibson is back and he’s better than ever.
His first film since 2006’s Apocalypto, Gibson directs the story of World War 2 Army Medic Desmond Doss, the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor for his service above and beyond the call of duty during the Battle of Okinawa.
Mel Gibson has always been a great director and here he is at his best, directing with a whole lot of love, heart, and soul. He brilliantly recreates some of the harshest, most powerful war scenes seen on the big screen since the likes of Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. His dynamic attention to detail, his brilliant camera work, and the well choreographed action make some of these battle scenes very difficult to watch.
It’s as if you’re on that ridge yourself, and Mel does a flawless job at capturing the horrors that the men witnessed and endured.
Andrew Garfield shines bright giving his best performance since his phenomenal work in The Social Network. Garfield beautifully plays Desmond Doss with a great amount of pride and moral fibre – a man determined to help his country, but also standing by his own faith in his religion despite the harshest treatment from his fellow comrades. Garfield’s fits of rage and emotional breaks are dazzling to watch.
Hugo Weaving is also tremendous as Desmond Doss’ father, Tom. Having served during the First World War and experienced the brutal nature of war, Weaving superbly performs as a broken and traumatized man having to deal with the horrors he witnessed and sadly taking out his frustrations on the people he loves most. Weaving gives such a strong performance that is difficult not to find yourself moved.
Vince Vaughn turns away from his comedic roots and gives a rather impressive performance a Sergeant Howell. I’ve always admired Vaughn and seen potential in his dramatic roles and here he excels. While his comedic roots do remain, they fit the character very well and are delivered brilliantly, even giving this brutal story an undercurrent of humour.
This movie is just as remarkable as its main character, who is without a doubt one of the most courageous and bravest men ever to grace this world.