Mel Gibson’s pacifist World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge received a roughly 10-minute standing ovation at Venice at the weekend, something of a rarity at that particular film festival.

According to Deadline, about six minutes into the ovation Gibson and key cast members Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn, Hugo Weaving, Teresa Palmer and Luke Bracey were asked to go into the audience to greet people.

Hacksaw Ridge centres on the real-life story of Desmond T. Doss, a conscientious objector who saved 75 fellow soldiers in Okinawa without firing a single bullet; a pacifist, he in fact refused to even carry a gun.


“While everybody else is taking life, I’m going to be saving it,” Doss (Garfield) says in the trailer (above), giving a passionate defence of his stance that eventually wins over his officers.

“Private Doss, you are free to run into the hell fire of battle without a single weapon to protect yourself,” he is told in court.

At a news conference for the film, Garfield said of his character: “The beautiful thing about Desmond Doss is that he was a very simple man, in the sense that he had a knowing. He had a knowing in his heart, in the core of his being, that he was not supposed to take another man’s life.”

Gibson has had an infamously turbulent career, and, asked at the panel what his relationship is with Hollywood in a single word, he replied: “Survival.”

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