Hacksaw Ridge tells the true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) a religious boy who despite being a conscientious objector managed to become a hero during World War 11 when he single-handedly managed to save 75 of his wounded comrades during the Americans brutal assault on Hacksaw Ridge, a strategic point held by the Japanese on Okinawa Island.

The story is pretty simple and director Mel Gibson splits his film into a story in two parts.

The first half tells of Desmond’s early life in the backwoods of Virginia. It’s here that Desmond is raised, along with his brother, by his religious parents. His mother (Rachel Griffiths) takes the most to do with the boys’ upbringing as their father is a drunk who is still trying to come to terms with his own experiences during World War 1.

It’s in his home town where he meets and marries a pretty nurse (Teresa Palmer). He then joins the army, but only on the condition that he will never touch a rifle.

The second half then moves to Desmond’s life in the army. Shunned at the training camp and treated as a coward by his superiors (Vince Vaughn gives a fine dramatic performance as his Sergeant) everything is done to try and break Desmond, the intention being to make him quit and leave the platoon.

Unable to break Desmond, he’s then moved to the island of Okinawa with his platoon, his role being that of the platoon medic.

It’s on Okinawa that Desmond experiences the brutality of war, his first experience of battle is when he and his platoon see bloody carts full of dead soldiers being transported down from Hacksaw Ridge. When the battle starts soldiers on both sides are brutally mowed down by machine gun and mortar fire. It’s in these scenes that Gibson shows that there’s no better director than him when it comes to handling the horror of battle.

Hacksaw Ridge makes the beach landings in Saving Private Ryan seem like a walk in the park.

Nominated for Best picture, Best Actor (Garfield) and Best Director, Hacksaw Ridge is as much a Mel Gibson’s reacceptance by Hollywood as it is about the life of Desmond Doss. It might not ultimately win him the awards come awards night but it is however a fantastic return for a star whose star seemed to be very much on the wane.

Hacksaw Ridge (15)

2h 19m

Mel Gibson
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths, Vince Vaughn

UK Release: Friday 27th January 2017

Hacksaw Ridge: "Rescue" Clip

Hacksaw Ridge: "Cowardice" Clip