Hacksaw Ridge – Why should you see it?
Hacksaw Ridge juxtaposes the anguish of war with the beauty of faith.
Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) serves in the WWII Battle of Okinawa with his wild band of brothers. Doss, a Seventh-day Adventist and contentious objector, enlists for the US Army. As a medic he secures permission to not even touch a gun. Concerned with his beliefs, Sergeant Howell (Vince Vaughn) publicly warns the boys while they are in boot camp that they cannot trust Doss, because he is a coward. He is beaten, imprisoned and rejected by his troupe simply for having a different view. We see how ‘The Coward’s’ convictions emerged from events in his past and we see him remain true to those convictions. However, Doss’s beliefs about the value of life are translated into action at the battle itself, where he miraculously saves over seventy lives. Hacksaw Ridge juxtaposes the anguish of war with the beauty of faith.
Hacksaw Ridge depicts the mental and physical trauma of battle.
HR is the goriest movie I have ever seen. I‘m not one to be turned inside-out by blood and guts, but there were several moments where I felt like I needed to turn my head or close my eyes. But I didn’t. I was sitting next to a veteran. I didn’t know him, but I knew that I needed to keep my eyes open for him. I was moved to endure this piece of hell to honor the hell that he endured.
It is obvious that we have an epidemic in this country. After saving so many lives, our veterans are suffering and dying even at times by their own hands. HR makes that obvious, going about it eloquently in a non-preachy kind of way. Bloody explosions, brotherly affection, and moments of fierce courage usher the viewer into the life of a soldier in a way that no encyclopedic definition or informative news flash ever could.
Hacksaw Ridge shows how Christian convictions should work to restore the world, not to incriminate it.
The world’s religions hold some of the most compelling stories offered to humanity. They have been repeated and reflected in different forms for centuries. Oddly enough, in the past ten years we have seen some of the most horrible films rendering faith and contemporary life. Recent story-telling is failing miserably when it comes to exploring religious belief. HR has broken that trend. It is timely, reverent and exceptionally made.
Sure, there were parts of the script I would have written differently, CGI I was discontent with and approaches to plot mechanics I would have liked to be more daring. HR wasn’t phenomenal. What I cannot get away from is that this film changed me. It has been weeks since I have seen it, but it just keeps coming up: in my prayers, in my interactions and in my own artwork. My hope is that Hacksaw Ridge inspires you too, inspires you to consider not what your convictions are, but how they can bring beauty and vitality to the world.
(In Wide Release – November 4, 2016)