Director: Mel Gibson.
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Hugo Weaving. USA 2016. 139 mins.
The true story of conscientious objector Desmond Doss (Garfield), who won a Congressional Medal Of Honour during the Second World War without firing a shot. After a lifetime of humiliation, first by his drunken father (Weaving) and then by army colleagues, Doss served in the assault on Okinawa as an army medic and saved the lives of 75 men during a brutal battle for the titular Hacksaw Ridge. Mel Gibson’s directorial return, like The Passion Of The Christ before it, is as much about personal conviction as it is about visceral violence: the account of an outsider finding redemption through extraordinary suffering.
Garfield gives a performance as powerful and convincing as the often-horrific battles scenes, which arguably represent the most intense depiction of war since Saving Private Ryan.
Director: Danny Boyle.
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Macdonald. UK 2016. 117 mins.
Two decades after director Danny Boyle’s groundbreaking drama set in Edinburgh’s dark, druggy underbelly, the four friends drawn from Irvine Welsh’s novel return to make amends… or seek revenge. Begbie (Carlyle) has just been released from jail, Renton (McGregor) is making an emotional homecoming, and Sick Boy (Miller) and Spud (Bremner) are awaiting them both with very mixed feelings. Based on Welsh’s follow-up novel Porno, and again scripted by John Hodge, Boyle’s film has all the grit and casual pathos of the original while acknowledging that the main characters, including Kelly Macdonald’s Diane, have grown up over the past 20 years… or have they? The opening voiceover – an acerbically hilarious update of the original film’s bleakly observed intro – is worth the ticket price alone.