The story of an exemplary man has been paired with a profane filmmaker, forcing everyone to decide yet again if art should be separated from the maker.
Advertisements for Hacksaw Ridge have been careful to avoid director Mel Gibson’s name given the damaging things he’s said over the last ten years. He’s largely been shunned by Hollywood during that time, and Hacksaw Ridge seems like a violent but amiable bid for reacceptance.
The real man Gibson’s taking on has no such character blemishes, as Desmond Doss is one of the few conscientious objectors in American history to be awarded the Medal of Honor. While Doss’s religious beliefs didn’t allow him to kill another man, he still volunteered to join the Army as a medic and served in World War II without carrying a gun.
Gibson isn’t going to hold back on the horrors Doss faced, and the combination of violence and faith is right in line with his filmography as a director. Delivering a good film will go a long way towards smoothing over the uncomfortable promotional campaign he’ll face, and it appears that he’s set himself up carefully for success.
Hacksaw Ridge is a comeback of sorts for lead Andrew Garfield as well. He’s been forced to reconstruct his career after the aborted Amazing Spider-Man series and has expressed interest in doing smaller projects. While certainly staying small, Garfield also seems to be focusing on the quality of the directors he pairs with. Ramin Bahrani helmed last year’s 99 Homes, and Garfield’s upcoming films boast Martin Scorsese, David Robert Mitchell, and Andy Serkis in his directorial debut.
Hacksaw Ridge is a calculated move for many involved, but it’s playing into Gibson’s strengths and should be a solid film with a chance to be great. Whether the quality of the work can overcome the baggage attached to it will be for the individual viewer to decide.
Hacksaw Ridge is directed by Mel Gibson and stars Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn, and Sam Worthington. It will be released in the U.S. on November 4th, 2016. For international release dates, click here.
Will Gibson’s involvement influence how you feel about Hacksaw Ridge? Let us know in the comments!
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