Length: 139 minRating: R15Release Date: 4 November 2016 (USA)Tagline: When the order came to retreat, one man stayed.
"In peace, sons bury their fathers. In war, fathers bury their sons."
WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to win the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.
The Story: Hacksaw Ridge
Desmond T. Doss, son to a WW1 survivor and alcoholic, nearly kills his brother while play fighting one day. This horrific experience, mixed with his mother’s religious upbringing, makes him strongly believe in the ‘You shall not kill’ commandment. Years later, Doss saves a man from under a truck, and rushes to the hospital with him. It’s there he meets a Miss Dorothy Schutte. Not only do they fall in love, but Doss starts to learn all about the medical profession.
As the war begins and the young men of his town are starting to enlist, Doss feels like he can’t just stay behind because he doesn’t want to kill. Instead, he enlists as a medic, and while he gets beaten up, yelled at, verbally abused about his faith, and his refusal to even touch a rifle, he eventually softens the hearts of his regiment and they can see the value in him being a contentious objector.
Doss’ squad is sent to Hacksaw Ridge, a cliff face that the Americans have been sent to climb to push back the Japanese. After a few gruelling days, some bonding with other solders in his team, the Japanese attack with full force, and they are forced to rush down the cliff face and retreat. Doss, however, doesn’t make it down in time. Stuck at the top of Hacksaw Ridge, he hears the cries of the wounded solders they were leaving behind.
Using whatever energy he has left, he runs back into the battle field and pulls out every wounded man he can find, including a couple of Japanese solders. Using rope at the top of Hacksaw Ridge, he lowers each man down the cliff to safety. After every man is down, he prays ‘one more. Help me get one more’. That night, contentious objector, Desmond T. Doss saved 75 men.
He was awarded the Medal of Honour.
As I was writing this, I was tearing up. This movie was amazing.
I’m not normally one for war movies. In fact, I tend to avoid them. Yes, I’ve seen my far share, but if I had a choice, it would most likely be option b: whatever that was. I don’t even really like movies that are based on true stories, but this movie? Wow.
The story line was apparently incredibly accurate, with a few minor changes for cinema. Even if it were only half true, it was still an incredible story.
The film is directed by Mel Gibson, so you know there’s going to be blood. And it was brutal. Some war movies you just know that someone’s been blown to bits. In this movie? You saw it. It was intense, it was horrific, it was frighting. But somehow that added to the incredible story and character that Doss was. In among all that carnage was a man who just wanted to do the right thing, who wanted to save ‘just one more’. That really came out in the filming, the acting, the directing.
The actors were superb. I don’t think I’ve loved Andrew Garfield any more than after that movie. As well as Garfield, there was a host of other well known actors including Hugo Weaving, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, Rachel Griffiths, and Teresa Palmer.
Hacksaw Ridge was definitely a moving film. Yes, this was a war movie. Yes, it was based on a true story. But I found myself laughing out loud, having those ‘naw’ moments, as well as tearing up.
If you’re not one for war movies, I still recommend seeing this. There’s a lot of blood, explosions, body parts and gore, but the overall story is fantastic, and one that I really enjoyed.
Have you seen Hacksaw Ridge? What did you think?