“With the world so set on tearing itself apart, it don’t seem like such a bad thing to me to want to put a little bit of it back together.”
The story of Desmond Doss, a pacifist who enlisted in the US army as a medic during World War II, ironically brings with it some of the goriest depictions of battle injuries to date. The film wisely lingers on Desmond’s life before the war for long enough that we understand both his sense of morality and his acceptance that others see him as unusual. Andrew Garfield deserves praise not for the awkward charm he displays, but the troubled conviction beneath it. We see the harshness of training through his eyes, although it is clear the senior officers’ hostility is borne of confusion and protectiveness over the other men in their charge. Once his unit ships out, the initial assault on Hacksaw Ridge is powerfully filmed but less personal and less compelling. That changes dramatically in the aftermath as we see Doss’ heroic bravery, scouring the battlefield under artillery fire and evading enemy patrols, for which he became the first man to earn a US Medal of Honor without firing a shot.
“For orcs, there is no other life but war, but with the humans, there could be.”
Warcraft seemed like a fitting way to kick off my mini-break around the E3 gaming convention. Where it succeeds is in bringing Blizzard’s chunky character design to life. The Orcs in particular are stunningly rendered, their actors unrecognisable yet able to convey a range of emotion. Sadly the script attempts far too much in convoluted plotting, at the expense of worldbuilding and character moments. Many gamers may be familiar with Azeroth but newcomers will see nothing more than a generic fantasy world. Whilst the $160 million budget allows a real sense of scale to the battles, the stakes are only ever as high as our investment in the characters, and there is scant opportunity for this to develop. This is a particular shame as some of those quieter moments are the film’s best.
“I’m interrupting this interview for the purpose of making further inquiries.”
A taut Australian crime thriller set almost entirely within the confines of a police station as two overzealous officers try to extract a confession, while the audience questions whether they are watching an innocent man bullied or a devious criminal toying with his captors. Hugo Weaving plays both sides of the role to chilling effect. Often reminiscent of The Usual Suspects, the budgetary restrictions on the scope arguably serve to aid the atmosphere, together with a sombre score.