Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge may be the most divisive motion picture of the year, but what cannot be said about the outcast director is that he pulls his punches. The oscar winner has stepped away from making movies for ten years, after a slew of personal problems, that now come baked into the narrative cake in his filmmaking. A personal opinion should come equipped for many, if not all audiences members, especially those who heard the alcohol induced and racist laced audio clips from Mad Mel. If you can set those personal issues aside, the Australian native does know how to put a film together. Hacksaw Ridge is an inspirational story about WWII Army medic and conscientious objector Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) who went into battle without a weapon and rescued over seventy-five men. It is a story that fits right into Mel’s wheelhouse, combining the fierce horrors of war and the power of faith to drive a man against insurmountable odds.
Documentaries continue to change how an audience is entertained or informed with the medium. Few succeed in changing our perception of a story the way Keith Maitland’s Tower has done. Last year’s Oscar winner, Amy, was a game changer for me by achieving a level of humanity that I never knew about, in a talent lost too soon. Other documentaries tend to reveal unknown truths of their subjects, such as Alex Gibney’s informative Going Clear. Tower, however, combines a unique narrative of artistic storytelling about the shocking history of events that took place on August 1st 1966, when a sniper at the Texas University tower killed 13 people and wounded 30 others. Maitland does a fantastic job of informing his audience of the events and honoring those that were lost. In a competitive year for documentaries, Tower is one of the best.