Based on true events, this thrilling World War 2 drama directed by Mel Gibson tells the story of Desmond Doss, the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
Played by former Spider-Man actor Andrew Garfield, Doss is a devout Christian and pacifist who nonetheless enlists in the Army following the outbreak of the war in order to do his part as a combat medic. Naturally, his refusal to even pick up a weapon doesn't sit well with his superiors.
If this first half of the story is fairly quaint and comfortable, the second half is a completely different beast. Shipped off to the titular Japanese-held frontline during the Battle of Okinawa, Doss finally gets to prove himself as he single-handedly stays around to save injured colleagues and dodge enemy patrols, after US troops are beaten back by the relentless tide of kamikaze Japanese soldiers.
If you've ever seen Braveheart, Apocalypto or The Passion of the Christ then you'll know that Mel Gibson isn't the most subtle of filmmakers. Everything in his movies tends to be writ large, from emotions to action – and that is just as true of Hacksaw Ridge. The battle scenes in particular are thrillingly in-your-face, with Gibson apparently trying to outdo Saving Private Ryan with the sheer amount of gore he throws around the screen.
While it might seem odd for a film to be so enamoured of the horrors of war while its narrative preaches something else, there's no denying it makes for a marvellously entertaining movie.
Picture: Hacksaw Ridge's AVC 2.40:1-framed Full HD encode is a thing of utter beauty, even as it's packed with images of horrible things being done to the human body. Shot using digital cameras, the film never looks anything less than pin-sharp, while the natural colour palette gives it an appealing sheen throughout. In fact, the only issue we noticed was a brief instance of banding as a flare illuminates the sky during Chapter 11, but even this was so minor and fleeting that you'd have to really look for it.
Picture rating: 5/5
Audio: After a fairly understated opening hour, the film's Dolby Atmos mix explodes into life with Chapter 8's bombardment and doesn't let up from there. What follows is an immersive, visceral and directional mix that ranks among the very best tracks we've heard. One for your demo disc collection.
Audio rating: 5/5
Extras: In lieu of a commentary track, Lionsgate's hi-def disc houses an insightful 70- minute Making of… documentary, which also includes some thoughts from Doss' son about his father and the film. A further featurette and six deleted scenes are also included.
Extras rating: 3/5
We say: Mel Gibson's rousing, boisterous yet harrowing WW2 drama makes for a spectacular home cinema experience.
Hacksaw Ridge, Lionsgate, Region B BD, £25
HCC VERDICT: 4.5/5
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