FILM: Hacksaw Ridge – Andrew Garfield buries Amazing Spider-Man
You can’t help but feel bad for Andrew Garfield.
Maybe that’s because his character in The Social Network, Eduardo Saverin, was royally screwed over.
And then life imitated art as Garfield himself was screwed over after Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man series, in which he starred as the titular wall-crawling hero, was scrapped, and the role subsequently handed over to Tom Holland.
2017 looks set to be the one for Garfield though – “New Year, new me” and all that.
He’s already worked alongside Martin Scorsese in the January-released Silence this year, but makes a second silver screen appearance in as many months, starring in the new Mel Gibson-directed war drama Hacksaw Ridge.
Garfield plays Desmond Doss – a young Christian man who wants to enlist in the US Army and serve his country in World War II.
Doss comes from a broken home. His own father, played excellently by Hugo Weaving (The Matrix’s Agent Smith), fought in the war and has been left a damaged man, yet Doss remains determined to follow in his footsteps.
In addition to leaving his parents behind, Doss has to bid farewell to his bride-to-be as he sets off to fight the good fight.
At training camp, while Doss excels in the physical side of things, he falters at weapon training and from that point onwards he is treated like an outcast.
The problem is, kindhearted Doss is so peaceful and believing in his faith that he refuses to wield a gun and take someone’s life, which presents quite the predicament for his superiors and peers, who think he’s either:
A. A coward
B. A nutter
C. A troublemaker
Little does anyone realise he’s none of those things and Doss has some mad medical skills, which are what he wants to harness while serving his nation.
What’s really remarkable about all of this, however, is the fact it’s based on a true story, which gives the film even more gravitas.
Garfield grabs hold of the opportunity before him like a lioness attacking her prey, delivering a compelling performance full of emotion and heart as he showcases impressive range through Doss’ naivety, faith and courage, all of which made the soldier legendary.
Elsewhere, Vince Vaughn also pops up in the mix as Doss’ hard-nosed sergeant, which was something of a surprise to me, given the nature of the film.
However, he was back on comic relief duty soon enough and issued a barrage of quips and smack talk like never before, but the drama-set role also gave him the chance to really show off his more serious acting abilities too, creating probably his best performance I’ve seen yet.
When the war finally does get going as Doss and co arrive at Hacksaw Ridge, Gibson does not shy away from the fierceness of the conflict, with the battleground a bloody no-holds-barred free-for-all that demonstrates the horror and brutality of war, which Doss’ father was all too haunted by.
Hacksaw Ridge covers more elements than you’d expect, with the action topped up with a supply of drama, comedy and romance, which ought to make a convincing argument if you’re planning to take your other half. Just show her the picture above to win her around.
I actually think Jenna would even appreciate the film, which says a lot, since she’s a tough customer when it comes to cinematic appreciation.
But if in doubt, just make it a lads’ night, which is precisely what I did.
And with lads in mind, Garfield has been nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards 2017, to which I say he is well deserving of – bring the gold back to Britain.
Images: Mark Rogers