Casual Critics: Heroism Upon Hacksaw – A Review of “Hacksaw Ridge”

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Hacksaw Ridge, directed by Mel Gibson, is a biographical drama based upon the true story and extraordinary life of Desmond T. Doss (played by Andrew Garfield in the film), a man who served as a conscientious objector in the U.S. Army in World War II. Although he participated in one of the bloodiest battles of the war, Doss completely refused to carry any type of firearm during his time as a combat medic. Instilled upon him at an early age was a religious faith that he swore to uphold for the rest of his life.

Of the Ten Commandments, “thou shall not kill” played a huge role in why Doss decided not to carry a weapon amongst the carnage and atrocities surrounding him, while Desmond’s faith as a Seventh-day Adventist compelled him to risk his life in order to save the lives of others. Mel Gibson does an incredible job of depicting the heroic actions of Doss, who was the first conscientious objector to receive a Medal of Honor.

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Gibson’s film, Hacksaw Ridge, immerses the audience within the Battle of Okinawa. This battle between the U.S. and Japanese armies resulted in the most casualties in the Pacific during the war. Gibson’s film gives a realistic depiction of the violence and bloodshed that took place during this battle. Gibson’s extreme use of explicit and graphic content gives rise to a film that is a true representation of the havoc that happened in World War II.  This film goes as far as to display shocking visuals of rats feeding on corpses and a variety gruesome deaths that one cannot explicate in words.

Although all of this may be jaw-dropping, it gives the audience a true understanding behind the bravery of Doss’s actions. While standing in a hellish world, his only weapon was the Bible. His faith drove him to save the lives of others, while everyone else was busy taking the lives of others. Overall, Hacksaw Ridge is a film that will possibly go down as one of the best war films of all time, and Doss’s story is one that should never be forgotten.

— Reno Stramaglia, Film Blogger

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