Director Mel Gibson (“Braveheart,” “Passion of The Christ” and “Apocalypto”) relishes the opportunity to yet again use the elasticity of human will power when matched against all odds, as the framework for his vision. “Hacksaw Ridge” sets the tone as a shining example of the director’s ability to push characters to the edges of morality and plausible goodwill, while veiled by relentless brutality.
Our story follows the true story of World War II (WWII) American Army Medic, Desmond T. Doss. Doss, portrayed by Andrew Garfield (“The Amazing Spider-Man” and “99 Homes”), is a unique individual from the get go — a southern boy from Virginia with an unparalleled commitment to Christian values. Doss was raised in abusive home, his father, portrayed by Hugo Weaving (“The Matrix Trilogy” and “V for Vendetta”), being a violent WWI veteran that has been plagued by remorse, hatred and alcohol. The aggressive nature of his father and an incident involving his younger brother leave Doss determined to be a better man; leading to his decision to never hurt or kill. The year is 1945 and with the war on its last legs of the U.S. occupation of Japan, Doss, like many young men at the time decide to join the fight. Using the Bible as his moral compass for life, Doss is faced with defiance, uncertainty when he refuses to use a gun or any other machines of war — instead opting to be a field medic and follow his passion of saving lives to better the world.
Though miraculous odds and endless adversity, Doss overcomes it all — going on to save the lives of over 75 solders, across three days of gruesome, life altering battle. With faith as his weapon and a disposition to safeguard humanity, no guns are needed for Doss, who would go on to be the conscientious objector in history, receiving the coveted Medal of Honor.
While other films may use violence and graphic content as a selling point, Hacksaw Ridge instead uses it as a vehicle to encapsulate its viewers by inviting them to take a glimpse into the real world horrors of war. While not for the faint at heart, the film works to create a deeper connection to the characters as well as an affirmation of the atrocities that men on the front-lines of battle were asked to undertake.
“Hacksaw Ridge” is guaranteed to leave viewers inspired in its wake. The film emits rare allowance of courage that leave us feeling that anything is possible, even in the darkest hour.