(This review may contain spoilers).
I don’t normally watch war movies, but when I saw this movie advertised, I was immediately intrigued by the story of a soldier who wouldn’t ever fire a gun. And that was helped by the actors I recognised… although, having only seen Vince Vaughn in serious things, I was a bit unsure when I saw his name on the credits.
I found this movie to be really engaging. It was really easy to care about the characters; although towards the end, it was harder to differentiate between the different soldiers while the fighting was going on.
I really empathised with Desmond throughout this movie. I don’t know how true to life the earlier parts of the movie were, but if even a small part of it was true… well, I didn’t have a lot of respect for the soldiers and commander/sergeant after they attempted to force Desmond to leave. (He was far stronger than I think I would have been).
I liked being able to see Desmond and Dorothy’s relationship forming before he enlisted in the army. While that part of the movie seemed to go too fast, it was good to see Desmond’ relationship with his parents and brother. And it was particularly difficult to see what things were like with his father. While it was obvious Tom was suffering from PTSD, it was still hard to see how Desmond, Hal and their mother had to deal with it. And even though Tom did come through for Desmond, I didn’t think it made him a much better person.
There was a small amount of humour in this movie, at least before it got to the events at Hacksaw Ridge. I have no idea if there actually was a soldier who was naked throughout the first day of training, but it did work to relieve the tension… at least a little.
I really like Sam Worthington as an actor… but the character of Captain Glover was one I really disliked. While there was more depth to him shown as the movie went on, both him and Sergeant Howell came across as jerks for a long time.
There was a lot of violence and gore in this movie, to the point I thought it should have been an 18 rating rather than a 15. The film did show Desmond’s determination and as the movie went on, I was on the edge of my seat, wanting to see what would happen. And the ending of the movie, where it showed clips of the real-life people, was a nice touch.