Click here to read my autism lesson on this movie.
This is what Spider-Man should have been all this time. Here is what Ben Affleck should have done with Batman. Here is a true hero that outshines anyone wearing a colorful, shiny million dollar suit. In fact, all he has to suit him up and protect him from death is the holy word of God. He won’t even dream of laying either an eye or a finger on a rifle. If today’s superheroes can’t help us through gun control, then this real-life hero of Hacksaw Ridge can.
Just the first opening sequence alone is enough to tear your heart open and make a home there. Images of the battle on Hacksaw Ridge show the brutality of the historical event: there are more corpses than living souls, rats have arrived to feast off the remains, blowtorches incinerate whoever is left alive, and the heavy-handed music reminds you of what each soldier had to leave to fight for the important things.
The story kicks off in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where one boy goes too far in a fist-fight with his brother, nearly killing him with a brick to the forehead. Reminded of the antiviolence account of Cain and Abel, Desmond Doss feels immediate remorse for what he committed against his brother, and vows never to get involved with violence again.
At a much older age, Desmond finds love with a local nurse who has seen soldiers return from World War II. Their romance from here is as sweet and believable as any man would remember his first relationship, complete with a bluejay feather to represent the delicacy of their love. It seems here like director Mel Gibson is returning to his old bags of tricks with the romantic plot of Braveheart, but the vulnerable Church-boy accent by main actor Andrew Garfield wins over both men and women.
These small personal touches set up exactly why we should care about the tragic events that happen later, proving exactly what Gibson most succeeds at as a director. He’s not even afraid to put in some comic relief when it’s time for Desmond to join the army, where one of the first soldiers he meets is a narcissistic bodybuilder who loves exercising in the nude (except when it’s time for training). But once he opens up at Fort Jackson about being a pacifist, everything stops being funny. He won’t even tie a noose knot without it coming out shaped more like a heart. The rest of the army found it completely unthinkable that a soldier was enlisting with no ambition to even touch a gun, so what happens from here is a multitude of mixed emotions and unclear answers.
Hacksaw Ridge may seem at first like the typical war movie that resorts to the usual tropes, but experiencing the film proves how it does everything a gigantic leap further from the clichés. The drill sergeant, along with firing out his expected racist insults, also shows his compassionate side when necessary, and the war hero is not depicted as being purely in the right. Rather, he has one thing that’s getting in the way of him serving graciously on the battlefield: his pride in his pacifism.
That is why on the day of the first battle at Okinawa, it takes a chaotic series of uncomfortably long warfare segments to put this man of God to the test. This recreation of real events show us how this underestimated unarmed soldier saved hundreds of lives just by sticking to the word of God. You’ll be surprised even by how he treats the “enemy” that the army is sent to Hacksaw Ridge to destroy.
It’s not every day a movie like this comes around: a movie that tells one of the most inspiring true stories to come out of the darkest period of man’s history. While everyone else in this nation is concerned about unreliable self-righteous heroes like Batman, Superman, Captain America, Spider-Man, here is a hero who knows the importance of putting other lives ahead of his own, committing his service to unconditional love rather than destruction. Therefore, I encourage the instant-classic Hacksaw Ridge as immediate viewing to all, for the sake of our country and our definition of heroism.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Dziemianowicz, Joe. ‘Hacksaw Ridge,’ director Mel Gibson’s comeback film, is at war with itself: movie review. Digital image. NY Daily News. 1 Nov 2016. Web. <http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/mel-gibson-hacksaw-ridge-war-movie-review-article-1.2852623>.
Hacksaw Ridge. Web. <http://www.hacksawridge.movie/>.