Venice Film Festival: ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ is Mostly Victorious for Garfield, Gibson

Hacksaw Ridge

Hacksaw Ridge” marks the return of Mel Gibson to the director’s chair. It’s his first go-round since 2006’s “Apocalypto,” and the anticipation for his latest film largely centers on how his return will be received.

If the word coming out of Venice is any indication, Gibson may have a hit on his hands. Reviews are praising the gruesome depictions of war and violence, as well as heroism, from the film. Many are calling it Gibson’s comeback.

Still others are reaping praise on star Andrew Garfield, who plays Desmond Doss, the first conscientious objector given the Medal of Honor.

Teresa Palmer, Sam Worthington, Hugo Weaving, Luke Bracey and Vince Vaughn also star.  The film features a screenplay by Andrew Knight (“The Water Diviner”) and Robert Schenkkan (HBO’s “All the Way”).

Check out what people are saying about the film below. “Hacksaw Ridge” debuts in theaters Nov. 4.

Owen Gleiberman, Variety:

Will audiences, and the powers of Hollywood, finally meet him halfway? One reason the likely answer is “yes” is that “Hacksaw Ridge,” unlike such landmarks of combat cinema as “Saving Private Ryan,” “Platoon,” or “Full Metal Jacket,” isn’t simply a devastating war film. It is also a carefully carpentered drama of moral struggle that, for its first hour, feels like it could have been made in the 1950s.

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter:

Ten years have passed along with much uncomfortable tabloid scrutiny since Mel Gibson’s last film as director, “Apocalypto.” Back in the saddle with “Hacksaw Ridge,” he once again proves himself a muscular storyteller who knows exactly how to raise a pulse, heighten emotion and build intensity to explosive peaks. Themes of courage, patriotism, faith and unwavering adherence to personal beliefs have been a constant through Gibson’s directing projects, as has a fascination with bloodshed and gore. Those qualities serve this powerful true story of heroism without violence extremely well, overcoming its occasional cliched battle-movie tropes to provide stirring drama.

The Playlist didn’t agree with the majority opinion, however:

So where does “Hacksaw Ridge” stand in Award Circuit’s Oscar rankings? Following its premiere, Gibson sits at #35 for a possible Best Director nom. Cinematographer Simon Duggan currently holds the #20 spot for his category. Meanwhile, the film overall is in the 39th spot for Best Picture.

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Tell us: As the film has more showings, do you think its Oscar chances will increase? Let us know in the comments below!

About Lauren Huff

Lauren Huff is a film and awards geek. When she's not writing about film and the industry, she's drinking coffee, reading mystery novels or hanging out with her husband and stinking-cute puppy. She's reported from the red carpets of Austin Film Festival, SXSW and various film premieres. Her work has appeared in several outlets, including Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter, Us Weekly and more.