WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot. (IMDb)
Nominations: Best Picture, Leading Actor (Andrew Garfield), Directing (Mel Gibson), Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing,
So, real talk. Not super into war movies. I find them formulaic and full of senseless violence. This definitely fell into that. It was super formulaic, down to the obligatory scene where our hero meets the rest of the men in his company (who are all strangely settled in at this point) in quick succession all by their last names or nickname and they do something so that the filmmaker (and the actor) hopes that the audience remembers who they are when they get shot and die later and say “oh no! not the guy who said that one funny thing an hour and a half ago!”
I know. Super specific. But you all know exactly what scene I’m talking about, right? Right. And there was probably about 30 minutes of violence that did not further the plot. It was well shot, and well acted, don’t get me wrong. But do we really need the Japanese general committing seppuku because he surrendered? The Japanese soldiers with the white flag wasn’t enough? (And also from a film standpoint, that moment was so different in tone from literally the rest of the movie.)
Also Mel Gibson. That’s all I’ll say about that.
Anyway. Now that I’ve done my bitching, here’s why I still thought this was a good movie. (Hah, caught you off guard there, didn’t I?)
He was brilliant. This movie in another actor’s hands could have turned this into some PSA for anti-violence and pro-religion. Garfield just played him as a person, and he did a phenomenal job. Hugo Weaving was robbed. He should have had a best supporting actor nomination for his role as Doss’ father; a man who never quite got over losing his buddies in WWI. Theresa Palmer and Garfield do the best they can with the rushed romance subplot, but they are both extremely charming and have good chemistry, so it’s forgivable.
So. Yeah. This is a typical war movie. For the most part. The insane true story of the man behind it, as well as the man who played him, make this worth your time.