Hacksaw Ridge (2016) Film Review


Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) is a young man who, despite the example set by his alcoholic, abusive father (Hugo Weaving) whose life was ruined in WW1, signs up for WW2. However, he refuses to carry a gun – he has volunteered to be an unarmed medic, to spend his time in the field saving the injured soldiers. Based on a true story, Doss is treated like a freak by most of the army including his immediate superior, Sgt Howell (Vince Vaughn) – until he proves his worth.

I quite liked the idea, it really is a good story. I’m not quite sure why Doss had to come across as a bit of a fool – his character had a bit of a Forest Gump feel to him, and I feel as though that took away a lot from his stance. There is a whole section at the start which had stuff from his childhood that I feel was really unnecessary – almost as if it was just filling up space to make it a longer, weightier film. For me, it really got good once they were fighting. That was very impressive.

Hacksaw Ridge won Oscars for Best Achievement in Film Editing and Best Achievement in Sound Mixing and was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Andrew Garfield), Best Achievement in Directing (Mel Gibson) and Best Achievement in Sound Editing.

Edge of Darkness (2010) Film Review

Edge of Darkness

Craven (Mel Gibson), a homicide detective has his daughter shot dead on his doorstep and the general theory is that someone was gunning for him. But in his own investigation, he learns that she was involved in a big conspiracy involving nuclear stuff and whatever and *yawn*. Sorry, I’m sure a lot of work went into the scripting, but I had so little engagement in the film that I couldn’t be bothered attempting to follow where all of the characters fit in. Ray Winstone was apparently an important figure, yet I didn’t know who he was working for or what he was trying to achieve.

Initially, I thought this was going to be a good film, and we might even get to see Mel Gibson doing some good acting again (he used to do that, right? Pre-all his drunken rants and nastiness). Now, I know that Bostonians have a specific and unusual accent, but Mel’s accent was inconsistent and, at times, downright amusing. I think I need to challenge myself to watch more good films.


Braveheart (1995) Film Review


The English rule Scotland through a combination of violence (killing many clan leaders) and money (giving the remaining clan leaders gifts of titles and lands, both in Scotland and England. Then evil King Longshanks (Patrick McGoohan) decides to re-instate Prima Nocte (the right for the lord to take any bride to bed on her wedding night). William Wallace (Mel Gibson), who had seen many of the clan leaders killed, as well as his father, and spent most of his childhood and youth with an educated and wealthy uncle, returns to his home village to start a farm and live a simple life. He falls in love, has a secret wedding to Murron (Catherine McCormack), but then an English soldier attacks her. When she fights back, the English kill her, awakening a rage in Wallace that causes him to lead the Scots against the Brits, much to the chagrin of the Scottish lords.

This really is a very good film. It’s tough to dissociate Mel from his relatively recent very allegedly bad behaviour, but in this film, he had indeed put together a great story. Apparently, not all that factually accurate, but I’m not going to quibble about that. It’s long, but there is really a lot to get in, and the battle scenes are pretty fabulous.

Braveheart won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director (Mel Gibson), Best Cinematography, Best Effects- Sound Effects editing and Best Makeup and was nominated for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Randall Wallace), Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Film Editing and Best Music, Original Dramatic Score.

The Beaver (2011) Film Review

Walter Black (Mel Gibson) is a deeply depressed man. Neither his lovely family nor his CEO position at a toy company can overcome his mental illness. Finally, he hits rock bottom. But a puppet of a beaver that he found in the rubbish comes to life as an alter-ego; a way for Walter to express his inner-most feelings. Despite the insanity of it, this ‘therapy’ is supported by both his family and his colleagues – until he take drastic measures to free himself.

I can’t say whether the film would be better with someone other than Mel Gibson in the main role. It is pretty difficult to overlook his anti-Semitic rants and Holocaust denial, and several extremely bad films. He’s not bad in this; and this is not a bad film. It’s not a great film, but not as bad as I had expected. It’s a bit like a weak version of Lars and the Real Girl – a man with a mental illness uses an inanimate object to work through his problem. The big difference is that Lars and the Real Girl has heart and beauty. The Beaver felt lacking in both heart and beauty.