Certificate: 15

Running Time: 139 mins

Star Rating: 4/5

DIRECTOR Mel Gibson returns, all guns blazing, with a riveting wartime drama based on the true story of Desmond Doss, who served with valour during the Second World War without having to fire a single bullet. He became the first conscientious objector to receive America's highest military award, the Medal of Honor, which is bestowed on the precious few who have distinguished themselves with incredible gallantry beyond the call of duty. In Doss' extraordinary case, he ran into a hail of Japanese bullets in May 1945 at the Battle of Okinawa, without a weapon to return fire, and risked his life to rescue injured soldiers from the blood-soaked battleground.

Desmond (Andrew Garfield) is born and raised with his brother Hal (Nathaniel Buzolic) in Lynchburg, Virginia. His father Tom (Hugo Weaving) is an emotionally scarred veteran of the First World War and mother Bertha (Rachel Griffiths) educates her brood using The Bible. Desmond is ushered into combat training under no-nonsense Sergeant Howell (Vince Vaughn) and instantly makes enemies of the rest of the squad, especially bullying ringleader Smitty Ryker (Luke Bracey), by refusing to carry arms. Desmond's defiance leads to his arrest for insubordination and he faces a trial behind closed doors overseen by Captain Glover (Sam Worthington) and Captain Stelzer (Richard Roxburgh).

Hacksaw Ridge pulls no punches in its depiction of the horrors of conflict. Gibson directs with verve and Garfield delivers a mesmerising performance, as a gentle and caring man who yearns to serve the country he loves, but isn't willing to abandon his moral compass in the name of patriotism.