Film Review: Hacksaw Ridge

“Hacksaw Ridge” is the extraordinary true story of Desmond Doss who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun. He was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon, as he believed that while the war was justified, killing was nevertheless wrong.

The film is a powerful and moving testament to the power of faith, principle and patriotism, qualities which are not only needed desperately, but are also in desperately short supply. The true story of Doss (played by Andrew Garfield) leaves one speechless and breathless, not only through his acts of heroism and bravery, but through his quiet and humble life of faith and service — acts of courage all their own.

The depiction of his difficult childhood engenders feelings of sympathy and empathy with his character, and when he falls in love with the beautiful nurse Dorothy Schutte (Teresa Palmer), and carries on a wholesome and romantic courtship, we fall in love too, our hearts lifted, but saddened all the same because we know the trials to come.

Doss’ journey through the cauldron of basic training — suffering insults and abuse at the hands of his fellow soldiers and commanders — and his survival of court martial through the intervention of his father (played by the inestimable Hugo Weaving) serve to set the table to the conflagration of the Pacific War in the Okinawa theatre.

Here, Doss encounters true evil — a test for his deepest-held beliefs and principles. His faith is not found wanting. Through his belief — which gives him courage and strength — he is able to overcome the challenges, achieving a triumph his fellow soldiers and commanders can only describe as a miracle.

You should witness this powerful story of a soldier defending his country while staying true to his Christian beliefs. This film, from Mel Gibson, the director of ‘Braveheart’ and ‘Passion of the Christ’, is not only a very good “war film” — certainly one of the better ones since “Saving Private Ryan”, but also a wonderful story.

(Tickets for this film were graciously provided by Norm Adams of Adams Insurance Service.)