Hacksaw Ridge is a powerful movie I had the fortune of seeing this week and all I can say is go see it. It is a very strong, moving film that shows you that you should never judge a book by its cover. This covers the early life and training of Medal of Honor recipient Desmond Doss, who would later go on to be a combat medic in the US Army.
What made Doss’ situation unique in his role, as a combat medic is that he was an unarmed medic. Due to his religion and convictions, being a Seventh Day Adventist, he refused to carry a weapon at all while serving in a combat zone. This as a result made him a conscientious objector during World War II, the first objector in the military actually. Now this didn’t go smoothly when he first started in the Army, he had opposition from his command when he started because they saw his lack of a weapon as a sign of cowardice or that he would just be a burden on the rest of his platoon. The thought process makes sense since it would make it so that someone would also have to cover him, as well as themselves, while in combat since he has no weapon to use himself. So with that logic, naturally his chain of command wants to get rid of him and discharge him from the Army so that they don’t have to deal with the issue of an unarmed medic. This attrition lead Doss to fight for his right to serve his country and represent who he was, the decision later to allow him onto the battlefield without any way of defending himself was made and Doss took responsibility for his own life.
With all the opposition and aggression he faced due to his beliefs and his stance as a pacifist and conscientious objector, why was Doss still compelled to serve? Why didn’t he just give up, or give in and take up arms? Why would an organization like the US Army turn away someone who volunteered to go to a warzone and help the cause when it was most needed; just because he refused to carry a weapon? Medics didn’t, at the time, need to be rifle qualified; yet they tried to discharge him under the pretense of being a psychiatric case. Being a volunteer military member, both then and now, is what makes the U.S. military unique and the best, so why turn someone down who wants to help in their own unique way? The Greatest Generation, as that generation is known, answered the call to arms and willingly went into the fire to defend not only this countries liberty, but the freedom of European countries as well. What Desmond Doss did proves that he was more than worthy to be part of that generation, he was considered crazy and a coward at first and then proved through his actions to be a hero.
Doss’ struggle to be allowed onto the battlefield is just the lead up to the actual action he did in order to receive the Medal of Honor. He went from being an outcast in his platoon and company for choosing not to bear arms to being a symbol for the entire company for his faith and bravery. He changed the minds of naysayers and doubters, and showed that you don’t need to always bear arms to show bravery in the battlefield. This film was powerful and very emotive, showing the good and the bad that warfare can be, especially in the Battle of Okinawa where 20,195 casualties were taken on the Allied side alone. Doss’ actions were a clear demonstration on how war can bring out the best in people regardless of all the bad around him. Any veteran that sees this movie will be left with a lasting impression of the movie and just reminders of their time in service and the camaraderie they have shared with the people that they lived with, deployed with, and bonded with; something that most veterans have a hard time finding once they leave the service. The one negative thing about this film is that the sound effects weren’t that believable, yet the action scenes were captured very well, especially the hand to hand sequence between the Japanese and the American troops. Andrew Garfield did a good job-representing Doss, I would say it is one of the better roles he has done in his career and it was a great comeback for Mel Gibson into the director’s seat after being away from the spotlight for a while. Over all I do recommend this movie to anyone who is a fan of this genre of film and especially to veterans out there.
|Hacksaw Ridge (2016)|
|Genre:||Biography, Drama, Romance, War|
|Release Date:||November 4th, 2016|