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Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge

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Yeah, they were good films, but kinda downers: "Arrival" permeated by "memories" a dead child, "Manchester" a sullen depressive struggles to feel anything; "Hacksaw Ridge," a devoutly religious boy gets beaten and thrust into the hell of war; "Moonlight" a gay youth is systematically bullied at school and by his drug-addled mother; "Lion," a six year old loses his family and barely escapes sexual abuse; "Fences" a garbage worker and abusive father looks at the failures of his life. I mean, 2017, not exactly "Mary Poppins." No wonder people loved going La La.


Personally, I think "The Witch" was my favorite bit of escapism into the past. But not a zipadeedodah kinda film, either!



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Yeah, fair enough. It's not like La La Land is totally saccharine escapism either - it's not grim like those other films you mentioned, but its plot is an inherently bittersweet one underneath the bright colours and flashy dances (and the ending only drives that home). Still, I guess those same surface elements make it feel a lot more enticing to audiences than watching miserable-looking down-to-earth dramas.

Still, it's not like a year's good movies being "kinda downers" is a unique phenomenon. Most of the acclaimed films in any given year are not exactly going to be "feel-good" - looking at last year's Best Picture nominees, the only one that really comes close to fitting that phrase is The Martian, and that's still a movie about a guy trying not to die alone in space.
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Way too much stupid talk on the forum. Iroquois, I’m thinking about you.



Sorry, meant to reply to this earlier but, ya' know, kinda nuts around here lately:

WARNING: "Hacksaw Ridge/American Sniper" spoilers below
The problem is that, after Desmond manages to save as many of the troops as he can (which would seem to be the true climax of his arc and, by extension, the film's narrative), the film goes on to show the U.S. forces regrouping and taking the ridge from the occupying Japanese forces. It stands out because of how heavily it contradicts the work that the rest of the film has put into making violence look horrible all for the sake of a "triumphant" finale (complete with a meme-worthy "grenade kick" moment for Desmond himself). Before, the Japanese soldiers being barely-glimpsed forces of destruction merely came across as an extension of the war-is-hell approach the film was going for, but with this scene they become faceless cannon fodder while the leaders' ritual suicides are even captured in stylised slow-motion. I get the impression that showing the final battle is supposed to indicate how Desmond's unconventional approach to soldiering (which he was mocked and interrogated over for much of the second act) still ended up making a greater difference than anyone could have anticipated, but it instead seems better at overwhelming his contribution by emphasising the U.S. victory over his ability to stick to his morals no matter what the war threw at him. If the film is Desmond's story, then the U.S. winning the battle seems like it should be besides the point. I know that's what actually happened, but to depict it the way they did really flew in the face what the rest of the film was clearly doing.
WARNING: "Hacksaw Ridge" spoilers below
I think the film anticipated this criticism, and preemptively addressed it, by emphasizing how he had inspired the other soldiers. There's that whole thing where they won't even go back out there unless he's with them, for example. So their victory isn't superseding his: he's sharing in that victory, too.

I agree that there's an obvious dissonance between their fighting and his steadfast refusal to do the same, but I don't see how that can be avoided. Heck, I'd say that's kinda the whole point. Why assume the film is wallpapering over this, rather than leaning into it? Is it really trying to be mindlessly triumphant at the end, or is it being wryly circumspect about how the violence, in a sense, still sort of "wins"? In other words, some of this criticism only makes sense if you assume the film has a simplistic message: if you assume it has a more nuanced one, then everything you're saying suddenly becomes evidence of its thoughtfulness, instead.

The victory itself has to be shown because part of the message is that it's not enough to win: you have to be worthy of winning, by fighting for the right reasons. This goes all the way back to the Bible, where military victories are shown as having a direct link to the virtues of the people who fight them. They win because they're fighting out of necessity, and not a desire to conquer. Because they have people among them who don't want to fight. And there's no way to make this point except by portraying both aspects of that situation: both the reluctance, through Dawes, and fighting anyway, through everyone else.

Re: the ritual suicide. I assume that's there to contrast the two notions of honor. How one is fundamentally peaceful, proud, and forward-looking, and the other is fundamentally violent, shamed, and backward-looking. In fact, both that scene and Desmond's grenade-kicking are both in slow motion, presumably to emphasize the link between the two.
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