An absolutely brilliant film. One of the best films in a long time, and the best war film since Saving Private Ryan, It was also Mel Gibson's best film and showcased Andrew Garfield's best performance to date. The film had heroics, pathos, drama, comedy, romance, bromance and emotions, lot of emotions.
Gibson told one of the best stories of the year and he had assembled a strong cast and crew to bring it to the screen, Other than Garfield, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffith, Vince Vaughn, Teresa Palmer and Luke Bracey were all outstanding. The music by Rupert Gregson-Williams was stirring and heroic, and really pumped up the action and tension, but yet also uplifting and romantic when the scene required it. Simon Duggan lensed the film and he did an extraordinary job.
However, this film truly belonged to Gibson and Garfield.
Gibson has crafted an anti-war and anti-violence film without the preachiness and holier-than-thou that affect most such film. Yes, there was still violence - and that battle scene was superbly and realistically filmed - but Gibson managed to have the positive morality and spiritual integrity of Desmond Doss' conscientious objector permeate throughout, uplifting the dire tragedy of war. Gibson also smartly juxtaposed these opposing themes and scenes to reinforce his views and propel the story forward.
But, none of that could be so strongly achieved, if not for Garfield's phenomenal work. From his cherubic innocence in the beginning to his obstinate strength in his faith to the terror of war and selfless heroism, Garfield shone in every scene he was in. One could strongly believed in his portrayal of the extraordinary Doss not because he was extraordinary but because of how ordinary he was.
Palmer and Garfield had enough chemistry to sell their romance; Weaving should be in contention for a Best Supporting Actor (but that field sure is crowded this year); Vaughn was an unexpected standout, was was Bracey; and Griffith is reliable as always. The other big-name star, Sam Worthington - taking a break from Avatar? - was well-cast but boring.
This film will definitely be in the running for Best Director, Best Actor and Best Picture. La La Land has an edge because it was more winsome and charismatic, but Gibson has a more sure hand in the amazing directing of Hacksaw Ridge compared to Damien Chazelle's more innovative and showy direction.