starring Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Vince Vaughn
screenplay by Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight
directed by Mel Gibson
by Walter Chaw Martin Scorsese and Mel Gibson are our two most prominent plainly and explicitly Catholic directors. Because Scorsese is the kind of Catholic he is, his films are about questioning faith. Because Mel Gibson is insane, his films aren't. As a result of that, and somewhat unexpectedly, Gibson is the single best case for the auteur theory working in the United States. As the originator and chief benefactor of The Passion of the Christ (the best and worst film of 2004), he can officially make whatever movie he wants, and with Hacksaw Ridge (and Apocalypto before that) he's gone ahead and done just that. Mel Gibson is the single best case for a lot of things. In Hacksaw Ridge, he tells the true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), a troubled, severely-abused young Virginian who enlists in WWII as a conscientious objector, refusing to touch a gun, dedicating himself to saving folks as a combat medic. It's essentially a superhero origin story opening the same weekend as another (Dr. Strange)--both films dealing with faith and the consequences of betraying said faith. In Dr. Strange, directed by openly Christian Scott Derrickson, bargaining with morality results in dreadful and unforeseen consequences. In Hacksaw Ridge, because Gibson's religious fervour burns so bright and erratic, all such niceties and ambiguity burn away in allegorical hellfire and literal rains of blood. He's long threatened a sequel to Passion. Here, he's delivered one.