HACKSAW RIDGE – In Cinemas Thursday January 26 – From Braveheart to Apocalypto to Signs: Mel Gibson’s Best Films
HACKSAW RIDGE is the extraordinary true story of Desmond Doss (BAFTA winner and Golden Globe nominee Andrew Garfield) who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun. He was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon, as he believed that while the war was justified, killing was nevertheless wrong. As an army medic, he single-handedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers and was wounded by a grenade and hit by snipers. Doss was the first conscientious objector awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour.
Mel Gibson’s best films have moments of unforgettable heroism. His new film Hacksaw Ridge (in cinemas 26th January) is no different.
This is a film that must be seen in the cinema to truly experience the visceral palpability of war. It will leave you bruised and battered, but before it hits UK cinemas let’s take a look back at some of Gibson’s best films to date...
Mel Gibson plays William Wallace, the Scotsman who launched a revolt against King Edward I of England. The film is known for its historical inaccuracies, but the film's cinematic qualities are of more significance. One of the greatest film speeches of all time comes from this masterpiece crafted and executed by Gibson, the most memorable line 'they’ll never take out lives, but they’ll never take…Our Freedom!' (Which, to be imitated, must be yelled from the top of your lungs).
The Passion of the Christ (2004)
This is definitely his most controversial piece of work which depicts the Stations of the Cross in the hours before Jesus' crucifixion. Gibson chose to have his biblical epic spoken in Latin and reconstructed Hebrew to make it as authentic as possible and an unknown cast to not deter from the focus of the story. For a story so well-known, Gibson does well to surprise his audience.
Despite the film’s obscure setting and plot, this film had a good response from critics and the public alike. It centres on the character Jaguar Paw and his fight against the Mayan kingdom who wish to sacrifice him and his tribe in the hope it will restore prosperity. Gibson makes the film as authentic as possible by having the dialogue spoken in Yucatec Maya, and he even had a professor on set that specialised on Mayan culture so the representation of the film was as accurate as possible. However, this did not deter Gibson from making his usual over-dramatic scenes as haunting as his previous films.
Mad Max: The Road Warrior (1985)
Gibson plays character Max Rockatansky in this post-apocalyptic setting. His character is a police officer and his unit are on a mission to take down a dangerous motorcycle gang, but they fail and some of the officers are killed in the process. This is the beginning of Max's mental breakdown which is tipped off the edge when the gang kills his wife and child too. After these incidences, Max is set on a path of revenge and uncontrolled fury that involves his own sadistic tortures planned for the gang.
Though inexperienced at this point in his career, Gibson plays the role with intensity that made this film memorable and helped in become a cult classic.
Lethal Weapon (1987)
Gibson plays another cop in this film, the suicidal officer Riggs who is partnered with the veteran police officer Murtaugh played by Danny Glover. At first the pair are hostile towards each other, but after a possible homicide turns into a shootout, thrown grenades, a kidnapping and torture by electric shock (not simultaneously), they see past their demons and become good friends. Renowned as an 80s classic Lethal Weapon spawned a successful franchise spanning 10 years.
Chicken Run (2000)
In the Ardman Animations stop-motion film, Gibson plays Rocky the Flying Rooster. Having crash landed in the Tweedy’s chicken farm he’s soon recruited for his ‘flying’ abilities to help the chickens mount a mass escape. Injured from the fall of his flight, the chickens keep him safe from the evil farmers while he recovers. Abusing their naivety, he has no intention of saving them and flees before they find out that he is an imposter.
From director M. Night Shyamalan comes Signs, a supernatural sci-fi thriller starring Mel Gibson as Father Graham Hess, a reverend struggling with a crisis of faith. The mystery starts when crop circles appear on his farm that nobody in the town can explain. His children’s disturbing behaviour and other odd incidences that occur perpetuate the audience’s confusion along with Graham’s. Graham attempts to decipher the meaning of what’s going on, but Shyamalan wouldn’t let that happen quickly. He wants to keep the audience’s suspense throughout.
See Mel Gibson’s highly acclaimed Hacksaw Ridge in cinemas Thursday January 26