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Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review (2016) | A Biopic to Celebrate a True Hero

Hacksaw Ridge Movie is a game changer for those who think taking lives is alright. It is powerful enough to stand against ideologies, makes you want to question your belief, and puts the right thoughts that brazen heads tend to overlook. There is nothing noble in war. It swallows everything in its wake. People need to see that. The struggling life of a man named Desmond Doss who spent his life in the service of others, who made a promise to himself to not touch a gun in his life, and the conscientious objector who puts everyone who thinks “war is just” to shame, is a life worth celebrating.

Clashing Ideologies of Men

People don’t get the concept of peace very well. Many don’t understand why it is important not to kill anybody and to live in perfect harmony with each other. They consider fighting to be the only way to get there. For such multitude, a mere clash in idea or ideologies has to be sorted out with a fight. It is a thrilling way to live when you are proving your mettle with your might and not brains; One has to almost agree to it to feel the adrenaline rush. But if you just sit for a while and ask why? Why fight? Reckon the cost one is forced to pay to go through a war. You will realize it isn’t the right way after all.

War is not right. It has never been just. War shouldn’t happen in the first place. Taking a life is the biggest curse. It is important to realize that a country is prepping up heartless creatures as an excuse to fight their wars in the name of security and defense. Soldiers are akin to dispensable robots created under the belying aegis of patriotism, and they are monsters on fields, slaying people who are just like them to gain something they will never gain – Peace!

I mean how could any sane man live after that?

Desmond Doss – A Real Hero

real desmond doss with wife dorothy image

Whilst it’s a message that is hard for people to understand, and a raging debate that might go on and on, Desmond Doss a real wise man chose to actually do something about it. Joining an army just to save people without picking up a gun, it is a commendable feat per se. With its superlative pensive concept, Hacksaw Ridge movie was already on its way to become huge. With a power pack performance by Andrew Garfield (was exceptional in Silence as well) and a great direction by Mel Gibson, the movie turns out to be a colossal biopic indeed.

You can order Hacksaw Ridge Movie from here:

Plot of Hacksaw Ridge Movie (Spoilers Ahead)

Hacksaw Ridge movie is a biopic so the plot of the flick comprises mostly of the happenings around the real life of Desmond Doss. But to piece them correctly you have got to praise Mel Gibson and the screenplay writers Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight who end up doing a fabulous job at the montage and writing.

To begin with, it is the accidental fight with his younger brother Hal that puts that painful searing empathy inside the heart of Desmond. He had almost ended up killing his brother which made him see what he was about to do. With a grunting insane dad Tom (Hugo Weaving) in the backdrop whipping him, and him not feeling what was happening around him, that empathy of blood in his hands was punishment enough for Desmond. The commandment “Thou shalt not kill” houses in him then and there and he promises to abide by it come what may.

He grows up to be a fine young man played by Andrew Garfield who is keen on helping people and saving lives. He meets Dorothy Schutte played by Teresa Palmer when he takes an injured man to the hospital. Love blooms gorgeously as he confides in her, his interest towards medical stuff.

With an unceasing desire to join the army as a combat medic, he enrolls himself to the dismay of his Dad. On his way to join, he proposes Dorothy for marriage and she accepts.

Joining the Army

Put under the watchful scornful eyes of Vince Vaughn‘s Sergeant Howell, he is constantly pestered by his own fellow soldiers owing to his disapproval of guns. Finding his reason absurd Captain Glover (Sam Worthington) and Howell, try to discharge him immediately under the pretext of him being mentally unstable. When they fail Desmond is put to test under punishing labour, beaten many times by his comrades, so as to make him quit. But Desmond’s resolve is unflinching.

On the grounds of insubordination, Desmond Doss is arrested and not granted leave like others on completing his training. He was supposed to marry Dorothy but he fails to show up at the wedding since he was imprisoned.  Dorothy visits him in prison beseeching him to plead guilty, but Desmond’s dogged staunchness will put every resolute man to shame.

 I don’t know how I’m going to live with myself if I don’t stay true to what I believe.

In a dramatic turn of events his Dad, who was a veteran of World War I, shows up with a letter from a higher authority that overrules all laws. Charges on him get dropped and he goes on to marry Dorothy.

Battle of Okinawa

It is during the battle of Okinawa that Desmond’s steadfastness as a medic is brought to test. It was Maeda Escarpment also known as Hacksaw Ridge where his battalion 96th Infantry Division was supposed to charge up and secure the mountain. While both the armies suffer heavy damage, the infantry decides to hole up at night.

Owing to a massive counterattack by the Japanese the other day, Americans are scared off of the escarpment. But Desmond doesn’t leave as he chooses to stay to save soldiers in the wake of the disaster. One by one he finds injured soldiers on the field and rappels them down from the cliff.

Help me get one more.

The scene is so poignant that it will bring tears to your eyes. A man that nobody liked owing to his strange disparate belief is the one who stands the bravest in the wake of a lost battle. He is saving lives running from soldier to soldier, giving them hope, resuscitating them with life, rappelling them down the Ridge. And such selflessness! In that dire time where a wrong move could cost him his own life, all he asks is to be able to save one more life.  It is just crazy as hell.

Saving Lives Selflessly

In an attempt to save lives he finds Howell holed up and injured. The guy who never appreciated him, and who constantly tried to ensure mercilessly that he was expelled from the Army.  Yet finding Desmond to the rescue fills Howell with hope. And Desmond with utter divine forgiveness and loyalty chooses to save him despite the hell he had to go through under Howell’s carnage.

still of andrew garfield as desmond doss in hacksaw ridge movie

Watching the ridge spurt out the wounded every now and then, the medic unit down below becomes active and inspired. At one point Doss ends up entering the enemy bunker and saving an injured enemy too. This highlights the humanity Desmond Doss had in him all along. It’s beyond faces and races. It respects a fellow human being for being one and judges no one.

He saves Howell’s life as well bringing him down safely. With Captain Glover ready to take back the Ridge next day, everyone wished to have the heroic medic by their side. Doss leads them into the battle, deflects grenades saving countless lives in the process but ends up wounding himself. The battle is won nevertheless.

In the end, through real life clips, we are told that Desmond Doss saved 75 lives at Hacksaw Ridge. Only a true hero could do that. He was presented the highest, Medal of Honor by the then President Truman.

The Ugliness of War

Mel Gibson doesn’t stop himself from showing gut-wrenching gore. The word has to go out and he seems keen on showing us minutia that repulse us beyond limit. But in doing so he often shows us the cliches we have come across so many times before.

For instance, there is this infantry sitting comfortably inside a bunker recollecting all those who perished. You can sense the contrivance in that image kicking in as if Mel wanted that scene to be deliberately put.

The Company B soldier quotes Herodotus out of nowhere:

In peace, sons bury their fathers. In war, fathers bury their sons.

Whilst the message was great, it felt as if it was forced. There is lesser realism in Mel’s direction of Hacksaw Ridge movie and there are so many instances strewn all across where you can almost pinpoint why the director might have gone with a particular scene. It kills realistic cinema.

The Final Verdict

It is really sad that there are fewer heroes who propagate non-violence and fewer who are willing to follow the golden rule of living. The world is abounding with hotheaded youth who are yet to see the pointlessness of it. They might not see what Desmond saw all his life.

Desmond Doss was the one who advocated it whilst being in one of the ugliest places mankind could find itself in – right at the center of it. The message nevertheless stays loud and clear.

Thou shalt not kill.

A movie this beautiful needs to be celebrated. The life of a true hero needs to be revered. It is sad that there is defiance at every corner when you are trying to do the right thing, but not falling back looking at the face of the adversity is how heroes get made.

Hacksaw Ridge movie is a biopic that we need today. We need it to make people comprehend why it is not alright to hurt people. Why it is not alright to go to war, and why it is of prime importance to save each other from ripping each other apart.

With the world so set on tearing itself apart, it don’t seem like such a bad thing to me to want to put a little bit of it back together.

You can check out the trailer of Hacksaw Ridge movie here:

Silence Movie Review (2016) | Ripping for the Faithful | Debatable for the Faithless

The passion project of Martin Scorsese finally comes to fruition. It took him 25 years to carve this beauty, and Silence Movie is in every way abounding with all the right emotions that we expected from it. The movie is based on the brilliant novel by Shusaku Endo and is about two Jesuit priests who travel to Japan to find Father Ferreira, their mentor, at the same time spread Christianity in a chaotic land where Christian priests are unwelcome.

The flick is a spiritual sojourn where it tries to quest for humanity in a place and time that objects to new teachings and principles. Japan was ruled by a tyrant then who was bent on uprooting any kind of alien dissonance from its soil. Religion being one of those major issues that stood at his cross-hairs. The movie is driven forward by powerful performances by Andrew Garfield, Liam NeesonIssei Ogata and Yosuke Kubozuka.

Direction of Silence Movie (Spoilers)

Scorsese is hands down one of the best in the business. And he keeps reminding everybody of that every now and then with his superlative direction. The movie captures minutiae of life, creates real tension forcing us to relive it as if we were right there surrounded by some serious agitation. It shows an inhumane past of Japan that one shudders at the very thought of leading a life in that era.

He recreates crucifixion so powerfully that it draws out instant pathos from you, crushing you under the weight of emotions. Even when he builds up dispensable characters, he makes them so concrete that it becomes really hard to part with when time comes.

silence movie character image of Shin'ya Tsukamoto as Mokichi

There are some brilliant diegetic moments scooched in, wherein Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) writes to Father Valignano (Ciaran Hinds) home and reads his thoughts through his letters. Then at times he speaks directly to God. They are so brilliantly written that you can’t help but empathize immensely with the protagonist.

The wait of your silence is terrible. I pray but I’m lost. Or am I just praying to nothing? Nothing. Because you’re not there.

Martin Scorsese also has that unpredictability quotient that we never see coming. We hope perversion relents, we hope heads wouldn’t roll but the fact is – you never know. The deafening silence of its melodrama is hard to fathom. You just keep hoping to hear a voice, throughout the Silence movie just like Rodrigues himself, but you know life’s like that.

Kichijiro’s Character

There is this unique character Kichijiro played amazingly well by Yosuke Kubozuka. You can’t help but wonder about his presence in the movie. His story runs parallel to Rodrigues’ hunt to find Ferreira and on more than one occasions he betrays him and his own people. He apostates continuously and bounces back to confess his sin. He is constantly asking for forgiveness from Rodrigues, who keeps forgiving him for his sinful acts.

At one point he has been compared to none other than Judas. His sins are terrible and when you really try to figure him out, you understand he is nothing but a common man who is just trying to get by when things go south. At the same time, there is guilt in him. He is truly sorry for his acts but ends up repeating his mistakes when a challenging time comes. Kichijiro is just a weak man caught in a wild place. He has suffered profusely and he suffers every second of his life with guilt.

Importance

If you notice carefully you would realize how he never leaves Rodrigues at all, always winding up at his door asking for forgiveness.  There is one scene in the end where Kichijiro tries to illuminate that flicker of faith back in Rodrigues even after he has apostatized.

I suffered beside you. I was never silent.

The above voice goes in the backdrop showing Kichijiro in the frame. It’s the voice of God speaking to Rodrigues once again trying to reason with him, telling him it was alright.

still of Yôsuke Kubozuka as Kichijiro in Silence Movie

Even though Kichijiro had been a sinful man he teaches Rodrigues one important lesson. That despite apostatizing and renouncing God, you can always come back to Him because He always forgives. Something Rodrigues wasn’t sure about after he had apostatized.

It was in the silence that I heard your voice.

The Silence movie ends the way it had started, in silence, with sounds of nature all around, implying silence is never there after all. That all you gotta do is listen.

You can order Silence Movie from here:

The Raging Debate

While at a time where religion was trying to spread its wings in every corner of the world, this might have seemed quite okayish to exist, but in times like today, it ends up becoming one of the most controversial chapters ever. If you look at the movie cynically, you realize what were Father Ferreira, Rodrigues and Garupe (Adam Driver) trying to do anyway? Weren’t they trying to spread Christianity, forcing a religion on people? Whilst the Japanese Inquisitor confirmed the existence of Buddhism in their country, weren’t they still bent on giving a country a taste of their own medicine?

Then you see what that Inquisitor was doing after all. Wasn’t he killing his own people in the end, trying to apostate a foreign guy? What kind of ruler does that? Okay, don’t answer that, a bad one, I know. But still people are being killed in the name of religion. Was everyone blind to that? Why are people so terribly blinded they fail to see what’s beyond religion?

Atheist Much?

If you drift further away from religion here, if you are an atheist, then the very idea of it would seem quite absurd. First of all, you are trying to force a religion on someone, then because of your ideals you are getting people killed. Hadn’t any of the foreign priests stepped on their land in the first place, the massacre could have been entirely avoided. Even Rodrigues confesses to that idea secretly when he tells Garupe about how he felt.

Then again what is a religion if not a set of code of conducts and moral values to keep people in check? We created it for our own convenience. Like Marvel and DC stories are in vogue today, it might as well be a religion for some. Okay leaving this ceaseless debatable thread open right here.

Signs of Faith

Then there is that insanity of valuing things like fumi-e that are mere stones and wood that are considered as gifts from God.

They value these poor signs of faith more than faith itself.

While to some this might sound justified, but to non-believers this is really hard to gobble. Your inability to step on a mere rock is getting someone killed. If there is an even an ounce of compassion in you for another fellow being, you would do it eyes closed. How hard is that to fathom? Isn’t compassion, humility, and fraternity above God? Does God teach you to make his idols and objects and demand of you to treat Him with such reverence? If there was a God He wouldn’t ask you to be so foolish. He would willingly ask you to step on Him if you can’t help it.

Does God teach you to make his idols and objects and demand of you to treat Him with such reverence? If there was a God He wouldn’t ask you to be so naive. He would willingly ask you to step on Him if you can’t help it.

I think that’s what happened to Rodrigues when he chose to listen. That voice of God was nothing but his very own reasoning for himself, where he accepted renouncing God with a heavy heart.

The Final Verdict

I understand the Silence movie was supposed to be watched keeping faith in heart. But for those who have none, if you really look at it, the amount of torture, killing and mass murder that happened in the name of religion is simply appalling. I guess, it could have been avoided too. It is as if killing someone because someone chooses to believe in Superman‘s existence, and that I think is highly unacceptable.

In a world where we judge everything by our own conscience, by passing everything on the belts of morality, I think a movie like Silence poses a serious question. Why are we so blind? But if you get under the skin of Rodrigues, a dogged guy who cannot be moved from his beliefs, you begin to feel for him. You begin to empathize and when you do, it is hard not to cry. There are blood-curdling moments strewn all across the flick that ensures you leave the theaters teary eyed.

Wicked characters like that of the Old Samurai played by Issei Ogata, provide a convincing spread on the Endo story. The Silence movie ends up becoming a really powerful wrap capable of existing sturdily on its own sans the God factor.

It’s just the doctrine that it fights for might not be the same for everyone out there.

You can check out the trailer of Silence Movie here: