A movie based on a real life hero, I’m giving Hacksaw Ridge an A.
World War II was underway when Desmond Doss (played by Andrew Garfield) decides to enlist. He’d grown up in an abusive family, with a father who’d served in WWI and suffered from PTSD. Desmond’s beliefs as a Seventh Day Advent wouldn’t allow him to touch or carry a weapon. As a Contentious Objector, Desmond stood firm in his beliefs in the face of harassment and persecution.
At the Battle of Okinawa, Desmond’s patrol needed to secure Hacksaw Ridge, which was hell’s battlefield. The Japanese were encamped in caves and bunkers. To get to the field, the Desmond and his unit had to climb a rope ladder. When the US troops had to pull back, Desmond stayed behind and helped rescue at least 75 men, lowering them down the ladder to the safety below.
Hacksaw Ridge takes liberties with the true story of Desmond Doss, the first contentious objector to receive the Medal of Honor. With a realistic feel of war, the only thing missing is the smell. I jumped in my seat at times and squirmed with the images of death and destruction. A Vietnam Vet who was seeing the movie told me that the movie reminded him of his time in Vietnam. The realistic feel enhances the story of one man who stayed true to his morals.
While the movie does focus on his religious beliefs, it is more about staying true to yourself and doing what you believe in. In spite of resistance and persecution, Desmond stays true to himself and the promises he made. Because of this, the people who were against him, change their minds and begin to see that heroes aren’t necessarily those who fight but those who fight for what they believe in.
With the harsh war images, this movie isn’t for children. However, true history buffs and viewers who love movies with action and compelling characters will love it. The end of the movie features some real interviews with Desmond and his former CO, giving us a chance to see the real man behind the movie. After watching the movie though, I did some more research on Desmond and his story. It’s a story which should be shared.
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