Hacksaw Ridge

One of the bloodiest battles in World War II happened on Okinawa in 1945, and it definitely wasn’t the place you wanted to be if you didn’t carry a weapon. But for conscientious objector Desmond Doss, this wasn’t an option. While he believed the war was justified—which is why he volunteered—his personal belief was that killing was wrong and he wasn’t going to be a party to it. He was in the war as a medic, and he was there to save lives, not take them. And save lives he did—75 of them over the course of one night when he was stuck behind enemy lines.

Mel Gibson is back, and it looks like Hollywood has forgiven his past behavior as he delivers one of the finest films of 2016 and maybe the best war film since Saving Private Ryan. The first act does an excellent job of exploring how Doss came to his beliefs and how he met his beautiful wife, which really personalizes him. The second act follows Doss as he enters basic training and shows the challenges he faces to get to the horrific battle in the Pacific. When all is said and done, you’ll readily understand why Doss won the Medal of Honor.

717hacksaw.box.jpgAlthough the film was originally finished with a 2K digital intermediate and unconverted to 4K, one would be hard-pressed to complain about the presentation. Detail is exquisite, especially in close-ups, and it looks like much of the 3.4K source format is somehow retained through all the digital processing steps. The wide color gamut is on full display with deeper hues of red and blue, natural-looking East Coast forests, and of course, the hell on Earth that was Okinawa.

The Dolby Atmos soundtrack is a crowd pleaser, from the opening scene until the credits roll. The battle scenes contain a plethora of discrete effects that encompass the room, and when the battleships unleash hell upon the enemy, batten down hatches because it’s going to get loud with copious amounts of thunderous bass. Like Private Ryan, the audio on this disc is definitely demo material and really showcases how great Atmos can sound in the home.

The sparse supplemental package is housed on the Blu-ray Disc and includes an excellent making-of featurette, an interview with Doss’s son, a salute to veterans from Gibson, about five minutes of deleted scenes, a theatrical trailer, and of course, the obligatory UV Digital Copy.

It’s easy to see why this film garnered six Oscar nominations. Highly recommended.

Studio: Lionsgate, 2016
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio Format: Dolby Atmos / TrueHD 7.1 core
Length: 131 mins.
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Mel Gibson
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn, Hugo Weavings