Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

hacksawDirector: Mel Gibson

Writer: Robert Schenkkan, Andrew Knight (Screenplay)

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Hugo Weaving, Teresa Palmer, Vince Vaughn

 

Plot: WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Absolutely Amazing

 

Story: Hacksaw Ridge starts as we meet a young Desmond Doss who along with his brother Hal must deal with their abusive father Tom (Weaving), once Desmond reaches his early twenties Desmond finds his calling in life to become a doctor after saving a local man’s life, even though he hasn’t the education to do so.

Meeting beautiful nurse Dorothy Schutte (Palmer) he falls in love but like his brother is drawn to support his country in World War II. Desmond wants to be a field medic refusing to carry a weapon which Sgt Howell (Vaughn) and Captain Glover (Worthington) use to turn the company against him with Smitty Ryker (Bracey) leading the ribbing.

With everyone against Desmond he must fight for his right to go to war to save the soldier’s lives without using a firearm through court before he joins the forces in Japan. What follows is the incredible story of Desmond Dobbs as he risks his own life to save as many soldiers as he can during the battle for Hacksaw Ridge.

 

Thoughts on Hacksaw Ridge

 

StoryThe story we are shown is of one man’s act of heroism during the Battle for Hacksaw Ridge, we do get to see how hard Desmond had to fight to get the chance to even serve his country against all the odds. The film is split into two stories with the first being about being able to go to war and the second is for battle. You hardly notice the time pass through this film either.

History/WarThe film gives us a look into one of the many brutal battles through World War II this one on Hacksaw Ridge as we follow the hero of the battle who saved countless lives. The war side of this story is realistic throughout showing the full brutality of the events.

Characters/PerformancesDesmond Doss is one of the most heroic characters we have seen in any film and the fact he was a real hero makes this man more than just any hero. With most of the other characters all being the expected levels for a war movie. The performances are brilliant with Andrew Garfield giving a performance that will re-define his career. I think we get brilliant performance from both Sam Worthington and Vince Vaughn showing they both have all the ability given the right direction and I finally think Luke Bracey gives a great supporting performance as another member of the unit.

SettingsThe settings are used to show how brutal the battle was, everything is put together to make this feel like one of the most realistic war movies you will ever see.

Special EffectsWhen you look at the effects used to re-create this battle you are left to see just how difficult the battle was and just how brutal the combat would have been for the soldiers.

Final ThoughtsThis is by far the great war film I have seen in my life when it comes to the battle side of the film.

 

Overall: Breath-takingly amazing that cannot stop grabbing your attention.

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John Malkovich Weekend – Empire of the Sun (1987)

empireDirector: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Tom Stoppard (Screenplay) J.G. Ballard (Novel)

Starring: Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, Nigel Havers, Joe Pantoliano, Leslie Phillips

 

Plot: A young English boy struggles to survive under Japanese occupation during World War II.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant

 

Story: Empire of the Sun starts in 1941 China as we follow an English family the Graham’s Mary (Richard), John (Frazer) and boy Jim (Bale) who find themselves in the middle of the tension between China and Japan. While trying to get out of China during the first invasion Jim finds himself separated where he returns home waiting for his parents to return all while having to fend for himself.

Jim meets American Basie (Malkovich), British couple Mrs Victor (Richardson), Mr Victor (Gale) and Dr Rawlins (Havers) as he has to survive in conditions his privileged lifestyle isn’t used to as a prisoner of war.

Empire of the Sun is a war drama that follows one boy during a war outbreak. This shows his struggle and search for anyone who will help him. I do like how the story decides to stay away from showing the actual conflict of war showing the human effects of what is happening. Also seeing the story from the boy’s point of view helps us understand the struggle he is facing even if he does come off annoying in places. This is one of those films that hasn’t dated at all even though it is reaching the age of 30 this year.

 

Actor Review

 

Christian Bale: Jim is the English boy living in China during the outbreak of World War II, he has lived there for his whole life. He gets separated from his family he has to fend for himself from within a Prisoner of War camp. I will say this character comes off very annoying having been taught nothing by his parents and never knowing when to shut up but that can’t be taken away from Bale’s performance. Christian shows all the shines that he was going to go onto become the star he is now with this brilliant performance.

John Malkovich: Basie is an American wheeler and dealer that reluctantly takes care of Jim during the wartime partly because he knows how to find him a deal, he gives him motivation to carry on while always looking for his own escape. John gives us the performance that is great and shows us he is a main stay of Hollywood.

Miranda Richardson: Mrs Victor is one of the British woman that take care of Jim in the prisoner of war camp, she does get tired of his stories but knows she is trying her best to protect him. Miranda is good in this supporting role without being over used.

Nigel Havers: Dr Rawlins is also at the prisoner of war who offers Jim time within the hospital caring for the sick during the time of war. Nigel much like Miranda is a good supporting without getting enough time to be over used.

Support Cast: Empire of the Sun has a good supporting cast with what I would say the only bad thing is we never feel like anyone is a really bad guy character.

Director Review: Steven SpielbergSteven give us one of the best wartime drama of all time that doesn’t focus on the actual conflict.

 

History: Empire of the Sun shows us what the prisoner of war camps would have been like during World War II filled with sickness and dealing to make it all bearable.

War: Empire of the Sun is a great look at how the children or in this case a single child was effected by the conflict breaking out in a new country.

Settings: Empire of the Sun makes each setting come off realistic be it the cities or the camp to make us see and feel the struggle Jim has to go through.  
Special Effects
: Empire of the Sun uses the effects when need and they all come off very well.

Suggestion: Empire of the Sun is one I do think everyone should watch at least once. (Watch)

 

Best Part: While annoying Bale is brilliant in this role.

Worst Part: Slightly long.

 

Believability: While the story is fictional I do think elements could have been real.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 6 Oscars.

Budget: $35 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 33 Minutes

Tagline: To survive in a world at war, he must find a strength greater than all the events that surround him.

 

Overall: One of Spielberg’s best films.

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Schindler’s List (1993)

schnidersDirector: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Steven Zaillian (Screenplay) Thomas Keneally (Book)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall, Jonathan Sagall, Embeth Davidtz

 

Plot: In German-occupied Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazi Germans.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best

 

Story: Schindler’s List starts as we see the early stages of World War II in Poland where German Oskar Schindler (Neeson) uses this to his advantage by moving to Poland to start his own business with a Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern (Kingsley) where he gives the Jewish people jobs during their exile by the Germans.

Oscar’s business is challenge when the German concentration camps start taking his workers with Amon Goeth (Fiennes) merciless leading the execution of the Jews in Krakow. Oscar has to conduct himself like a business man through this horrific time as he tries all he can to keep as many Jews alive against near impossible odds.

Schindler’s List is always going to go down as one of the hardest films to watch because of the subject matter, but it is also one of the most important films to watch. The film shows the brutality of holocaust during World War II. The fact that this is a true story shows us just how incredible the risk Oscar took to save as many as he could. The direction is flawless the acting is flawless it is hard to say a single bad thing about this movie.

 

Overall: One of history’s most incredible stories shown in full emotional impact.

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’71 (2014)

71Director: Yann Demange

Writer: Gregory Burke (Screenplay)

Starring: Jack O’Connell, Sam Reid, Sean Harris, Sam Hazeldine, Killian Scott

 

Plot: In 1971, a young and disorientated British soldier is accidentally abandoned by his unit following a riot on the deadly streets of Belfast.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Behind Enemy Lines – Ireland

 

Story: 71 starts as we see Gary Hook (O’Connell) going through his training with his regiment before they get deployed to Belfast to deal with the riot situation. In Ireland the regiment receive their instructions and onto the Catholic side of the war. When the riots get out of hand Gary finds himself on the wrong side of the barrier alone and unarmed in the Irish territory.

With tensions rising Gary finds himself in the middle of the battle not knowing which side to trust as both side are preparing to attack each other as Gary learns the harsh reality of what these riots are causing.

71 puts us into the middle of the Irish riots showing just one soldier’s experience behind enemy lines, this works well. My issue with the story is unless you know the history which I only know the basics you are left kind of wondering why the riots are happening in the first place. Another problem I found was telling what was going on with the supporting characters like who was on whose side which I do understand adds to the mystery but in this situation we should be able to identify them easily. As a film about survival in an urban setting this is great though.

 

Actor Review

 

Jack O’Connell: Gary Hook is the young soldier who is on his first mission on the streets on Belfast during the riots of 71, trying to receive a lost weapon he gets separated by his unit and stranded alone behind enemy lines never sure who to trust. Jack is great in this leading role in what was an outstanding year for the young actor.gary

Sam Reid: Lt. Armitage is one of the men that wants to start searching for Gary but constantly gets put down Captain Browning. Sam is solid in this role but doesn’t get enough screen time.

Sean Harris: Captain Sandy Browning is the man running the situation he knows that Gary is alive but really is playing both sides of the battle. Sean is also solid but only in a supporting role.

Killian Scott: Quinn is one of the leaders out trying to kill Gary, he takes his men and boys out on the streets on the hunt for him and will hurt anyone who gets in his way. Killian is good in what seems like one of the primary villains.

Support Cast: 71 has a large supporting cast but working out which side they are on gets confusing at times.

Director Review: Yann DemangeYann gives us wonderfully shot sequences throughout but not enough back story to the events on the film.

 

Action: 71 has intensely shot action sequences involved.

Thriller: 71 keeps us on edge as we watch Gary trying to survive the warzone.

War: 71 puts us into a warzone as we see Gary trying to avoid conflict seemingly around every single corner.

Settings: 71 puts us in the warzone of the Belfast streets which really works to pull us into the story.
Special Effects
: 71 has great effects when needed without having to just go overboard with them.

Suggestion: 71 is one for fans of the genre but otherwise people might find it slightly hard to keep up with. (War Film Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Bomb shock.

Worst Part: Not enough history of the events.

 

Believability: The riots were real but story is fictional.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Behind Enemy Lines

 

Awards: Nominated for One BAFTA.

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Trivia: Most scenes within the film were shot in Northern England, not in the film’s setting of Belfast.

 

Overall: Good history war thriller that is intense but never fully drags you into believing everything.

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Eye in the Sky (2016)

eyeDirector: Gavin Hood

Writer: Guy Hibbert (Screenplay)

Starring: Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Alan Rickman, Barkhad Abdi, Phoebe Fox

 

Plot: Col. Katherine Powell, a military officer in command of an operation to capture terrorists in Kenya, sees her mission escalate when a girl enters the kill zone triggering an international dispute over the implications of modern warfare.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Intense Thriller

 

Story: Eye in the Sky starts Colonel Katherine Powell (Mirren) planning her latest mission in her search for terrorists in Kenya. She has two drone pilots located in the States Steve Watts (Paul) and rookie Carrie Gershon (Fox) being her eyes in the sky as Katherine co-ordinates with the locals in Kenya planning the take down.

We continue to meet everyone else involved in this operation with Lieutenant General Frank Benson (Rickman) keeping everything under control from a British military office and Jama Farah (Abdi) a ground surveillance from the ground.

Finding the terrorists, the we get go through the legal and ethical decision about any drone attack, this is what creates all of the tension through the film.

Eye in the Sky shows us the modern warfare and how the search for these deadly terrorist, the story shows how difficult these decisions the people involved have to face because they are not only trying to stop terrorist attacks they are trying to protect the innocent lives involved too. Having the people located all over the world also shows us how much of a global operation this actually is too. I think the tension is built up through the film that does help keep us on edge and is willing to offer up the questions about what we would do too.

 

Actor Review

 

Helen Mirren: Colonel Katherine Powell is running the operation to locate and capture known terrorists in Africa. She has to communicate with people all over the world on this operation as well as dealing with legal and ethical consequences. Helen gives us a great grounded performance through this film.

Aaron Paul: Steve Watts is the drone pilot stationed in Nevada having to watch over the situation unfold, he knows that he is pulling the trigger that could end innocent lives. Aaron is good in this performance showing all the emotion needed in the role.

Alan Rickman: Lieutenant General Frank Benson has to communicate with the highest ranking officials as to what can be done for the good of the mission and the good of the country all after he had the difficult decision what present to buy. Alan gives the performance you would expect from him in one of his last before we lost great.

Barkhad Abdi: Jama Farah is the Kenyan agent on the ground that has to risk his own life to get close to produce a positive ID on the suspects. Barkhad is good in this role having to deal with the most action involved in the story.

Support Cast: Eye in the Sky has a supporting cast that are all involved in the operation from all around the world they all help balance what would be the right or wrong decision.

Director Review: Gavin HoodGavin gives us a thriller that keeps you on edge throughout as well as offering all the questions needed during these operations.

 

Thriller: Eye in the Sky keeps us on edge wondering how the operation will go from start to finish.

War: Eye in the Sky shows us all the angles on the modern warfare when it comes to the decision making when dealing with terrorists and innocent lives.

Settings: Eye in the Sky puts our characters in different global positions when it comes to dealing with the operation, each location shows how modern warfare is being handled now.
Special Effects
: Eye in the Sky uses the effects very well throughout when needed but never turning them too often.

Suggestion: Eye in the Sky is one I do think everyone should enjoy. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Tension being built.

Worst Part: I think some people might expect more action.

Oh My God Moment: Final decision.

Favourite Quote: Lt. General Frank Benson ‘Never tell a soldier that he does not know the cost of war.’

 

Believability: This could be a real operation.

Chances of Tears: Maybe.

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $13 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

Tagline: Welcome to the new front line. 

 

Overall: One of the most intense thrillers of the year.

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