Hacksaw Ridge
A Review By Ben Hunter
4 Out Of 5 Stars


Go out and reach one more person with the work you inspire! 


At the top is where we want to be.  We wish and hope to be at our best and at all times on top of our circumstances.  We accept that there will be challenges, but at least we’re “at the top”.  Circa WWII, our boys experience such a challenge at the top of the Maeda Escarpment, nicknamed “Hacksaw Ridge”.  The Japanese put up quite the fight in The Battle of Okinawa. 

You can call Mel Gibson a lot of things, a bad director is not one of them.  He cordially leads us by the hand to the Spring of ’45 as we witness what feels like a FIRST HAND experience of what our boys went through at the top. 

We journey through this part of the second world war through the lens of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield).  A young, country boy from Virginia, who grew up raised as a traditional southern gentleman, very poised and mannered in his Christian faith.  As the young men of his town start to enlist, his father Tom (Hugo Weaving) despises Desmond and his brother’s interest in the military for his personal grievances in service and wanting to spare his sons such grief.  However, with a childhood near tragedy, Desmond never wants to touch a firearm ever again and with the weighted response of duty to his country, decides to enlist as a combat medic.  This coming after being introduced to medicine from the new woman in his life Dorothy (Teresa Palmer) who tends to him as a nurse. 

Our boys prepare to battle in the most gruesome experience they've ever witnessed as they climb Hacksaw Ridge. 
While in service, Desmond doubles down on the vow he made as a child coming close to the experience of death and refuses rifle training as a contentious objector, someone claiming the right to refuse military service due to freedom of thought, conscious, disability, or religion.  Tensions escalate, with his superiors (Vince Vaughn, surpringly convincing as a mean sargent, and Sam Worthington), his fellow troops that grow weary of the extra work the superiors put them all through at Desmond’s expense, his fiancé that the military uses to force Desmond to comply, it all builds to a point.  Should Desmond be allowed to fight in the war without a single weapon to defend himself?  Are the grounds of faith or conscious enough to send someone in harm’s way with a higher risk of fatal conclusion?  How much of a say do we have as the lives of others are involved? 

Well, the experience, in the fullest display that war can be shown, is revealed in Gibson’s latest.  Teaching us the importance of humility and that being at the top shouldn’t blind our judgment and cloud our wisdom.  Revealing that while always aspiring to excel upwards towards the top, being on the ground where we are is actually a good thing, sharing the experience with those around us, to encourage one another to work together towards being “at the top”.

This is by far one of the most, if not THEE MOST grueling and graphic war film to date!  I was surprised by how real and accurate everything felt!  Mel Gibson, you son of a gun!  My hat’s off to you!  So keep that in mind while cyphering this one.  Definitely not for the faint of heart and easily agitated.  Gibson puts you on the grounds of Okinawa for a realistic period of time as that’s when things pick up and this no longer becomes a good hearted, moral lesson, and feelings feelings feelings, cutesy cute film … but a WAR FILM!  If you can handle that, then go see this and prepare to have your tears jerked, and your heart moved.

Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) in the heat of battle contentiously objecting to carrying a firearm. 
With the morality of America quite different than say during the real Hacksaw Ridge, I was impressed to be reminded that good quality entertainment isn’t dead.  Desmond’s faith, which I happen to share, isn’t mocked as it normally is in today’s culture.  But it’s honored and respected, stating “this is how it is, we’re not trying to rub it in your face, but this is what this story is about, take it or leave it”.  Which I liked and what Hollywood needs more of.  Good, wholesome, entertainment that helps to spread love in a way isn’t trying to make a statement at the same time.  It just is what it is and that’s why this film resonated with me.  

I want to go out and reach more people with the work that I do in the world to make it a better place.  So as Desmond (coincidentally my brother’s name) is striving to do the same with the movie’s signature line, “please Lord, help me get one more”, just one more after one more soldier to save and lower down Hacksaw Ridge, I felt inspired to reach more people with my work.  All signs of a successful story told through the medium of film. 

Go out and get one more with the work you inspire in others! 

Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
War, 131 Minutes, R
Screenplay By: Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight
Directed By: Mel Gibson
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Hugo Weaving, Teresa Palmer, & Vince Vaughn

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