movie review: Hacksaw Ridge
“Please Lord, help me get one more… help me get one more.”
When I heard that line during the scene where Doss solo rescues the wounded men, I was literally on the verge of tears.
Hacksaw Ridge is probably the best movie I’ve seen this year. It’s also the most intense, graphically violent war film I’ve seen since Saving Private Ryan. When those war scenes hit, they hit hard like a high speed truck that suddenly appears right in your face. But more importantly, it’s a very moving story that’s uplifting and inspirational.
This story was actually based on true events. Desmond Doss did save more than 50 wounded soldiers including the Japanese soldiers left behind in the battlefield of Okinawa. And he was 7th Day Adventist christian who became the first conscientious objector.
The first half of the film focuses on Doss’s civilian life and the persecution he faces during his boot camp training. There’s many happy moments with scenes of Doss and his romantic interest Dorothy. It’s actually quite sweet despite of being hokey at times, but this makes Doss a very likeable character. The 2nd half of the film is where the war comes in. Seeing how convicted Doss throughout in the midst of that brutality was incredible.
Thematically speaking, it’s heavy and multilayered. Desmond wants to serve his country while at the same time follow the commands from the bible. In doing so, he puts his faith as priority over the country’s commands. Which comes to a question, while Desmond certainly glories the Lord from his works, would taking a life of an enemy be glorifying to God considering the circumstances? On top of that, Jesus commands us to love our enemies and forgives those who persecutes us. When Jack Glover told Doss that he believes the book as much as he does, Jack still goes out there to fight the war. It’s a tough question that we Christians have to go through. These are just one of the themes that the movie brings up. Although, this is my first time hearing about 7th Adventist Christians, I don’t see any bible verses about not eating meat or worshiping Saturdays. Sounds like a man made rule from certain divisions. But that’s a discussion for another time.
I came out of the theater absolutely stunned. To say I’m still thinking about this movie after a few days really means something. I actually wouldn’t mind if I went to go see it again! Say what you want about Mel Gibson, but you can’t deny his directing skills. Also, all the actors did a splendid job. Not a single one felt like a miscast. Before people start misunderstanding what this movie is, it’s NOT a christian movie but it’s a movie ABOUT a christian who’s strongly convicted with this way of serving. I highly recommend this film whether or not you’re not into war films.
Update: Here’s an interesting facts/movie comparison.