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Hacksaw Ridge an American War Epic

hackAgreed. Hacksaw Ridge is a gory movie. There is carnage everywhere and blood is on the hands of nearly everyone. Hacksaw Ridge, as the name implicates, is a war movie. Let that end the discourse on whether the blood, guts and gore is appropriate. We can try all we want to intellectualize and mythologize war, but in the end, it is gruesome. War is death. War is ugly, and it is to the death. On the bright side, Andrew Garfield delivers his best performance in Hacksaw Ridge as Desmond Doss, the legendary conscientious objector who saved countless lives (estimated at 75 wounded men) through acts of god and uniquely American courage.

Many will be driven away by the fact that Hacksaw Ridge is Mel Gibson’s production. Get over it. As director, Gibson aggressively sought out the soldiers involved in the taking of Hacksaw Ridge at Okinawa. He researched the terrain. He understood the stories of the men involved, and he personally interviewed those responsible for the events that occurred at Okinawa, a conflict called the bloodiest battle of World War II, which is no mere understatement.

Garfield’s portrays the aforementioned American hero of epic proportions, Desmond Doss. Doss wanted to be a medic in the thick of things so that he could save lives instead of taking them. What he refused to do was carry a weapon because that represented killing, and he only wanted to save lives. After jumping through bureaucratic hurdles and red tape that nearly included his court martial, and almosy cost him the love of his soon to be beautiful wife Dorothy, Doss was eventually allowed to accompany his platoon/brigade into combat against the Japanese. His heroics that would soon ensue cost him his health, nearly his life, and he earned a Medal of Honor on behalf of his service.

Enough about the history of Doss’ military career as a medic because that is well-documented already. What you are here for is information about the movie Hacksaw Ridge. Mel Gibson has earned his stripes. Hacksaw Ridge is a masterpiece. It is unfair to compare it to other war movies because its premise is unique and special and therefore comparisons are relatively inexact. What I can say is Desmond Doss was a hero, remains a hero, and this movie is in the vain of Sergeant York if an analogy must be offered. Hacksaw Ridge is a tale of American valor and courage in the face of death and destruction.

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