Gibson is a formidable action director. His vision of Okinawa is so tactile you can practically smell it. Rotting corpses and rats, roving Japanese death squads ready to butcher any poor son of a bitch unlucky enough to have fallen in no man’s land and fresh-faced youth cut to ribbons by machine gun fire. Hell, the film even opens with a bible verse and slow motion flamethrowers ejaculating fire all over Japanese soldiers. Ultraviolence and religion. Classic Gibson.
Doss is a soldier of god and will not kill under any circumstances (he’s even a vegetarian) or work on a Saturday (he’s also a Seventh Day Adventist). Here’s the hook though, he wants to join the Army as a medic. Add to this a romantic subplot that culminates in a big spinning kiss at the top of a mountain with the beautiful Teresa Palmer, a boot camp sequence lifted from Full Metal Jacket and a bumbling, drawn out courtroom case about the ten commandments, and you start to get a sense of Gibson’s overambitious vision.
HACKSAW RIDGE is released in Australian cinemas on November 3