As society moves forward, we often try to remember days gone by. War is often the subject of this, as it is important to world history. War films are made to do this, and they are quite popular. Last year, we were introduced to one of the best of them all, “Hacksaw Ridge.”
Hacksaw Ridge follows the story of Desmond Doss, a Private First Class during World War II. The movie starts off with a flashback to Desmond almost killing his brother Hal. He feels guilty for this because of his upbringing as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, where the commandment “Thou shalt not kill.”
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Desmond wants to enlist in the Army, against the wishes of his father, a troubled Great War veteran. He meets a nurse named Dorothy, and they start a relationship. Before Desmond is going to Fort Jackson, Dorothy accepts his hand in marriage. At Fort Jackson, Desmond excels physically, but is rejected by his fellow soldiers for refusing to carry a rifle and train on Saturdays. Sergeant Howell and Captain Glover try to make Desmond leave of his own accord through intense physical labor and having his fellow soldiers attack him, but Desmond stays resilient.
Desmond finishes his training and tries to leave so he can marry Dorothy, however he is arrested for insubordination for refusing to carry a firearm. At his trial, he pleads not guilty, but right when he is about to be sentenced, his father steps in and hands in a letter stating that Desmond’s service as a conscientious objector is protected by an Act of Congress. He is then dropped of all charges and marries Dorothy.
Desmond goes off to serve in the Battle of Okinawa, where he saves several soldiers who were presumed to be dead. At camp, he spends the night in a foxhole with squadmate Smitty, where Desmond reveals that his reluctance to hold a firearm stems from almost shooting his drunken father who threatened his mother with a gun. The two then proceed to make amends. The next morning, the Japanese launch an attack on the Americans, where Smitty is killed. While his comrades retreat, he runs back into the battlefield to save dying soldiers. He then escapes under enemy fire.
Captain Glover tells Desmond that he has inspired his squadmates, and they won’t launch the next attack without him. He agrees, despite the next day being his Sabbath. After finishing his prayers, Desmond joins the battle. The Japanese surprise the Americans using perfidy, and Desmond saves soldiers by deflecting grenades. Desmond leaves the battlefield clutching onto a Bible Dorothy gave him. The film then cuts to pictures where it reveals that Desmond received a Medal of Honor for saving 75 soldiers in Okinawa. He stayed married to Dorothy until her death in 1991, and he died himself in 2006.
This film is a true masterpiece. The acting is amazing, with a talented cast including Andrew Garfield, who is known for his role in The Amazing Spider-Man. Director Mel Gibson makes his return to the film industry with this wonderful film. The action is very well done in this movie. The movie will probably make you feel like you just witnessed the real Battle of Okinawa. Desmond Doss is someone who was relatively unknown to the mass population, but this movie certainly drew attention to him. I hope after reading this you go watch the masterpiece that is Hacksaw Ridge.