A biopic profiling Desmond Doss, a soldier in WWII who went into the front lines as a medic in Japan without a weapon, on religious grounds.
Hacksaw Ridge comprises of two excellently staged battle sequences showing the true horror of war. Comparisons to Saving Private Ryan are apt, at least in a technical sense.
The rest is all preachy Hollywood fluff and padding that inspires absolutely nothing in the audience. Garfield’s performance is solid but the script is so clunky and heavy-handed that he’s a wasted asset when he’s not saving lives. Gibson could have cut straight to the battle sequence; we’d have saved half an hour and lost nothing but meandering backstory.
I don’t want to end on a bum note because the tent-pole scenes that hold up the film definitely make it worth a watch, and there’s no denying that once the wheels get turning Hacksaw Ridge is absolutely gripping stuff.
PS: Being the flamethrower guy in a WWII film is the same as wearing the red shirt in Star Trek.