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consistent with what Gibson himself has said recently. “I think if you make a film, your personality is sort of in the film, if it’s coherent and sticks together,” Gibson said. “I’ve done a lot of work on myself these last 10 years. I’ve deliberately kept a low profile. I didn’t want to just do the celebrity rehab thing for two weeks, declare myself cured and then screw up again. I think the best way somebody can show they’re sorry is to fix themselves and that’s what I’ve been doing and I’m just happy to be here.”

HEALING IN A WORLD OF HACKSAWS The arrival of Hacksaw Ridge is timely on a number of levels. It hits theaters in early November, just days before the climax of an American presidential election that has been remarkably divisive and ugly. It also hits the world at a time where war is pervasive and ideologies of hate are seemingly on the rise. It’s a world where everything is weaponized: a terrorist-driven truck on Nice’s Promenade des Anglais, “The Star-Spangled Banner” before NFL games, the coughs of Hillary Clinton, the bathrooms of Target, NCAA championships in North Carolina. It’s a world where a film with “hacksaw” in the title automatically feels in tune with the zeitgeist. Gibson’s film attempts to bring healing in a world of hacksaws. “I think Desmond actually says this in the film. He’s got a line, ‘With the world so fixated on tearing itself apart, it doesn’t seem like such a bad thing for me to want to put a little bit of it back together.’ My hope is that the spirit of what he did and who he is continues to inspire and impact the world around us. This is what stories are for.” As stories go, Doss’ is a good one. From Lynchburg, Virginia, Doss is a country boy from humble origins who becomes an iconic American war hero for saving rather than taking lives on the battlefield. The Capra-esque story was one producer Bill Mechanic tried for 15 years to see made. He pitched it to Gibson two previous times before the director finally took on the project. “I guess I just had different eyes to look at it,” Gibson says of why the third time was the charm. “I thought I could tell that story. I got tooled up and went for it. It’s such an inspiring story. How can this guy have done what he did? And what does that tell you about the human spirit? What does that tell

us about who we might be at our best?” is entirely Australian, apart from himself Garfield agrees. He was drawn to the and Vince Vaughn, who plays Doss’ serfilm because it is “medicine that this geant. Hugo Weaving gives an impressive wounded world needs right now,” he says. performance as Doss’ father, a WWI vet Garfield sees the film’s message as one of whose postwar alcoholism and violent tenencouragement to not stand by idly while dencies presumably inform Doss’ pacifism. the world becomes worse, but to do some- Rachel Griffiths plays Doss’ mother, Tething, anything, to help make it better. resa Palmer his wife and Sam Worthington “It’s about being a servant and healing also stars as an army captain. Gibson’s son and seeing the state of the world and long- Milo Gibson has a small part as well. ing to do something and actually finding a Filmed in Australia, Hacksaw is strucway to do something,” Garfield says. “[Des- tured in two halves, with the first hour mond] found his part of the garden to tend.” focusing on the convictions of Doss in the For his part as a “garden-tender” in the context of his family and faith, showing field of acting, Garfield has stewarded his him as he volunteers for the army and is talents well in an impressive filmography forced to justify his conscientious objector that is full of humanity and conscience. In convictions. The second, far more violent films like Boy A (2007), Never Let Me Go and visceral half shows Doss putting his (2010), 99 Homes (2014) and now Hacksaw Ridge I T ' S A V E R Y H A R D T H I N G T O S TAY T R U E T O he has explored ONESELF A ND ONE'S CON V ICTIONS IN THE questions of what it means C U LT U R E W E ' R E I N R I G H T N O W. Y E T I T ' S T H O S E to be human, to grow, to reP E O P L E W H O S H A P E T H E C H A N G E T H AT A sist temptation, to sacrifice for C U LT U R E N E E D S , B Y S TA N D I N G S T R O N G I N T H E others. MIDST OF TER R IBLE STOR MS. In Hacksaw Ridge, Garfield – A NDR EW GA R FIELD leads a cast that

Though Doss would not use a weapon that did not keep him from being on the front lines.


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RELEVANT-Issue 84- November/December 2016  
RELEVANT-Issue 84- November/December 2016