John Lui Film Correspondent and Boon Chan Media Correspondent recommend

Film Picks: Hacksaw Ridge

Hacksaw Ridge
Hacksaw RidgePHOTOS: THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY, TIME TOMORROW, THE SINGAPORE PALESTINIAN FILM FESTIVAL, SONY PICTURES

HACKSAW RIDGE (M18)

139 minutes/3.5 stars

Never has so much film blood been spilt in the service of so peace-loving a message.

Hacksaw Ridge tells the true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield, left), a patriot who aches to fight in World War II without compromising his Seventh-day Adventist beliefs.

Director Mel Gibson (The Passion Of The Christ, 2004) is a religious man who thinks that faith finds its purest, most poignant expression during the mortification of the flesh, so it makes sense that Doss' story holds appeal for him.

This film does not earn its M18 rating for nothing - the battle scenes feature the goriest, most anatomically correct scenes of carnage seen outside the horror genre.

But Gibson's work would be for nought if not for Garfield's moving portrayal of Doss.

John Lui


PHOTOS: THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY, TIME TOMORROW, THE SINGAPORE PALESTINIAN FILM FESTIVAL, SONY PICTURES

THE SINGAPORE PALESTINIAN FILM FESTIVAL 2017

Supported by the Middle East Institute of the National University of Singapore, the inaugural edition of the festival includes the documentary The Wanted 18 (PG13, 89 minutes, photo), which its makers call a "mooovie". Told using claymation and graphics, it recounts the time when 18 Palestinian cows became a political issue.

The film will be presented with Ave Maria, a humorous short fiction film about Palestinian nuns and their strange encounter with a car filled with Israeli settlers.

WHERE: The Projector, 05-00 Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Road WHEN: Till Sunday, various times ADMISSION: $13.50

John Lui


PHOTOS: THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY, TIME TOMORROW, THE SINGAPORE PALESTINIAN FILM FESTIVAL, SONY PICTURES

WATCH LOCAL 2017: SINGAPORE TELEMOVIES

In this instalment of film and photography centre Objectifs' annual series, eight telemovies from the 1990s to the 2010s will be seen on the big screen for the first time.

They include Time Tomorrow (1993), Singapore's first original English telemovie starring Chin Han (photo, with Suzanne Ho), now a jobbing Hollywood actor; and The Playground (2015), an adaptation of Arthur Yap's poem 2 mothers in a hdb playground. The latter is directed by K. Rajagopal, who also helmed A Yellow Bird, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival last year.

WHERE: Chapel Gallery, Objectifs, 155 Middle Road MRT: Bras Basah WHEN: Feb 7 to 11 ADMISSION: Entry by donation; register on Peatix Info, go to www.objectifs.com.sg/ watch-local-2017/

Boon Chan

PHOTOS: THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY, TIME TOMORROW, THE SINGAPORE PALESTINIAN FILM FESTIVAL, SONY PICTURES

ARRIVAL (PG13)

116 minutes/ 4 stars

This has been saddled with the unfortunate "brainy science fiction" tag, but do not be put off. This has much more to offer than a workout for the mind. Like all good science fiction, Arrival is about one big idea, taken to a satisfying conclusion. Linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams, photo) is called in by the military when a dozen seedpod-shaped ships appear at different places on Earth. With physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), she has to work out what the foreigners want.

John Lui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2017, with the headline 'Film Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe