So last month I was lucky enough to go to an exclusive screening of Hacksaw Ridge, which won’t be out in the UK until 2017. Mel Gibson is back and this time he’s behind the scenes with a World War 2 movie that some critics are seeing as his Hollywood redemption. But is it actually any good?
Hackshaw Ridge tells the true story of Desmond Doss, the first Conscientious Objector in American history to be awarded the Medal of Honor depsite refusing to hold a gun.
I came out of this screening feeling completely overwhelmed by what I just saw. It was such a a powerful experience that I was raving about to my friends afterwards.
The film had such a compelling story about a conscientious objector (or co operator as Doss liked to put it) and I was surprised I never heard about it before. Doss’ beliefs may be the focus of the movie but the film never feel preachy or try to convince you that Doss is right or the army is right, just that no one should go against their beliefs whatever that is. It also shows that you don’t have to hold a gun or fight in a war to be brave.
The first part of the film shows Doss early life as we get to know the young man and his loved ones. Then we see him volunteer for the army where his fellow soldiers and superiors are distrustful of Doss believing he is a coward and a liability. How can he help his follow men if he doesn’t have a gun? But throughout the training Doss doesn’t compromise on his beliefs-to serve his country and maintain his pacifist views. Two views that seem conflicting to the army but Doss had absolute belief in.
As we see Doss and the other soldiers head off to combat the brutal reality of war hits them, and the audience. There is no discretion shots or bloodless injuries instead the audience is subjected to extraordinary and brutal scenes of war. Gibson does a fine job directing throughout but really exels during the battlefield scenes as the soldiers come under constant fire.
The film does have a few flaws such as some moments which almost crosses into cheesiness. There’s also the fact that most of the soldiers in Doss regiment fail to stand out apart from Luke Bracey’s aggressive and determined Smitty and Vince Vaughn’s memorable turn as Sergeant Howell who tries to force Doss into quiting.
Through it all Garfield is outstanding. Doss could have come across as a bland do-gooder or a bit preachy but Garfield gives grace, intelligence and stoicism to his role of a true life hero. Can this be the year Garfield finally gets recognised this award season? His chances may be better than Gibson who may struggle to get such recognition considering his past, unacceptable behaviour. But with a film that promotes tolerance maybe Gibson can work his way back out of the Hollywood wilderness.
Rating 5/5 – outstanding, emotional and great work from Gibson and Garfield
Vince Vaughn hasn’t had a huge smash hit for a while. Can a remake of a Canadian comedy Starbucks, which in turn was inspired by a true story provide him with a huge hit?
David’s (Vince Vaughn) life is a mess. He’s an unreliable delivery man for his father’s butcher shop, his girlfriend reveals she’s pregnant and she doesn’t know if he will be there for her and he’s in debt to some men who want to break his legs if he doesn’t pay the money back. He then find outs from a sperm bank he donated to in his youth that he is the father of 533 children and that 142 of them are filing a lawsuit to find out the identity of their father. Although he wants to remain anonymous he can’t help but be interested about the children he fathered and slowly begins to seek them out without revealing his identity to them.
Delivery Man is by no means a perfect comedy. The failings of which I will go into later. But there are some moments in Delivery Man which are surprisingly sweet and yes, even funny.
The funniest bits in Delivery Man is Chris Pratt as David’s lawyer Brett. Uncensored in his opinions of fatherhood and David’s ability to be a father he has most of best lines and has a great comedic touch. This really is no surprise now considering he’s been a big part of the success of The Lego Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy, both of which has Pratt using his humour in a leading role. In the supporting role he manages to stand out against leading man Vaughn. The young actors playing some of David’s children are also good, you empathise with their journey to know their father and see David be a better man through his interaction with them (although they don’t know who he is).
Delivery Man is easy watching and will provide some laughs but it doesn’t seem to know what kind of film it wants to be. Is it a laugh out loud comedy about a man with 533 children, or drama about a man who has fathered 533 children? It tries to be both but it feels like it tries to hard to balance the two parts. One of his children (Britt Robertson) has an overdose which seems like it will be a major plot later on but then is dropped without much follow-up or consequences of David’s actions. Although Vaughn is capable enough in the role it’s not really stretching him. The film follows the adult-child-learning-to-be-a-man-and-a-father cliché and doesn’t really offer anything new. Still at least Vaughn gets to show more sides of his character than poor Cobie Smulders as David’s put upon girlfriend Emma. She seems to be there just to look disappointed in David, annoyed at David and slightly less annoyed at David. Smulders looks like she’s counting down the days til she can back to the next Avengers movie. The ending also has everything wrapped up way too quickly whereas you would expect more of a backlash against David, and his money problems are so easily resolved you wonder why he didn’t do that in the first place.
Rating 3/5 – by no means perfect, but amusing enough and has a great supporting role from Chris Pratt
Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn team up again eight years after their hit comedy Wedding Crashes entered our screens. Can the magic be repeated?
Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson) have been made redunant from their work as salesmen. Desperate for work they apply as Interns for Google, depsite not knowing anything about technology. Split into groups where only one team will win, can Billy and Nick prove they’ve got what it takes to work for Google?
I was not expecting this film to be very good. All the films I read seemed to suggest this film was rubbish and not at all funny. So I was quite surprised to find myself laughing at lot during the film. Its nothing original but Vaughn and Wilson have the same great chemistry they had in Wedding Crashes and put their all into a so-so script.
There are plenty of failings in this film. All the other interns and Google workers are sterotypes. Poor Rose Byrne was stuck in another underwritten female role (she needs to sack her manager, she can do much better than these roles as anyone whose seen her in Damages knows she can be great given the chance). Vaughn and Wilson are by no means stretching themselves in this film, it would be nice to see them do something difference.
Ok so it’s not a classic film by any means but considering I was expecting a huge disaster on my hands I was pleasently surprised.
Rating 3/5-its no Wedding Crashes but it had enough laughs to keep me enternained