Mel Gibson is clearly in that class of people, along with Ezra Pound, Elia Kazan, and Bill Cosby, whose talent is undeniable, no matter how shit they are (or were, as the case may be) as human beings.
I’ve enjoyed many of the movies he’s done as an actor, but I just saw Hacksaw Ridge, and he’s a genius director as well. Of course, a large part of making a great movie is choosing the subject. True stories are always good. Well, not always, of course, but I do enjoy watching something that’s based on a real life story, as this was. Also, it was a war movie, and they’re generally kind of exciting. And, it was a war movie (and a real life story) with a twist.
Desmond Doss was a 7th Day Adventist, and I wonder how much Gibson, who has some fairly nutty religious views of his own, was influenced by this to make the movie. But I only wonder about it a bit. It was a movie worth being made.
Doss wanted to serve as a combat medic, but of course the army, being populated mostly by jerks, wanted to force him to be a soldier like everybody else. But he persisted and, as a medic, saved 75 men who’d been abandoned for dead as most of the unit retreated.
I thought the film struck a nice balance, about a third on his childhood, about a third on his decision to enlist and basic training, and about a third on the hyper violent combat scenes. I remember when Saving Private Ryan came out and everybody was raving about how realistically gory it was. Well, this outdid that.
Good job, Mr. Gibson. Good job.