Andrew Garfield goes to war in Mel Gibson’s pacifist bloodbath ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ – Los Angeles Times

“Hacksaw Ridge,” Mel Gibson’s latest high-minded cinematic massacre, tells the story of Desmond T. Doss, a God-fearing American pacifist who served as a combat medic during World War II and personally carried 75 wounded soldiers from the Battle of Okinawa, ultimately becoming the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor.

His journey straddles two war zones — the first a largely psychological one, in which Doss endures the scorn and harassment of his fellow officers, and the second an intensely physical one, atop a treacherous 350-foot escarpment that gives the movie its title. Steeped in blood, guts and Christian iconography, “Hacksaw Ridge” is a tribute to one man’s courageous adherence to his deepest beliefs, made by a director whose commitment to his aesthetic principles is no less unswerving.

As he did in “Braveheart” and “The Passion of the Christ,” Gibson equates spiritual virtue with a hellish corporeal endurance test. His favorite subject is the testing and purification of a man’s moral mettle — a goal that can be achieved only through a sickening, uncompromising display of brutality.

His new film differs in that its hero nobly refuses to participate in the slaughter. Unlike William Wallace — or Jaguar Paw, the warrior protagonist of Gibson’s previous film, “Apocalypto” — Doss has sworn a sacred vow that he will never use a weapon. And unlike the flayed and battered Jesus we meet in “The Passion,” Doss does not personally endure the bulk of all that digital and prosthetic carnage.

Andrew Garfield goes to war in Mel Gibson’s pacifist bloodbath ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ – Los Angeles Times

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