I go to the movie theatre far less than I used to, mostly due to overall lower quality of most feature films released. We know that plenty of the top talent in Tinseltown has migrated to streaming television series, for example. But as I have noted before, Hollywood is a much more watered-down version of what is once was.
On a more optimistic note, however, the good news is that the tide can always change, much like in the stock market. Case in point: The "New Wave" of cinema in America in the 1970s gave birth to a fresh batch of wildly talented directors for many years to come.
At the moment, Hollywood seems to want a spark by trying to rekindle its old glory. In doing so, they may be turning towards someone who was an exile of sorts: Mel Gibson.
Gibson, simply put, is a brilliant filmmaker and actor. Much like Clint Eastwood, his personal views do not necessarily align with much of Hollywood. But even those who fiercely disagree with his views and castigate him for his personal missteps and controversies over the years would be hard-pressed to trivialize his talents.
With this in mind, last weekend I saw Hacksaw Ridge (2016) in a theatre. Gibson directed this World War II story, starring : Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, and Vince Vaughn. The film is Australian (as is Gibson) and most of the stars, with the exceptions of Garfied and Vaughn, are Australian themselves.
The film tells the real-life story of Desmond Doss, an Army Medic who served during the Battle of Okinawa. Doss, however, refused to carry a firearm and kill people due to his past and his devout religious beliefs. He became the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot in battle.
Come February, I suspect this film will be in serious contention for the Academy Aware for Best Picture. Gibson does a good job of breaking down the conflicts which arise due to Doss's stance without exploiting them too much and making a hokey farce out of them.
Of course, as discussed above, the subtext to Hacksaw Ridge and its critical acclaim is that Hollywood may be ready to forgive and forget Gibson's personal past if for no other reason than they are looking to relive some of the golden days where people felt compelled to go to the theatre for gripping acting, storylines, and beautiful filmmaking in lieu of tired sequels and comic book adaptations.