Tonight, I will be discussing a movie I saw earlier in the week, Hacksaw Ridge. I have been drawn to historical movies for quite some time now. So when I heard about this movie I knew I had to see it as it combined two of my favorite subjects, history and faith. This movie is Rated R due to the level of violence so if you can’t handle watching missing limbs or gory scenes this movie might not be for you. Now I will discuss the background of Hacksaw Ridge and my thoughts on the movie.
Background of Hacksaw Ridge
Hacksaw Ridge was directed by Mel Gibson and tells the true story of WWII veteran hero Desmond Doss. Through Doss’s faith, bravery and courageous acts he saved 75 men in the battle of Okinawa. Doss passed away in 2006 but his story and his sacrifice will live on. Mel Gibson has a history of directing powerful films such as Brave Heart and Passion of the Christ.
Doss’s challenges in the Army
In the early 1940s a young Desmond Doss (played by Andrew Garfield) enlists in the U.S. Army to become an Army medic and save lives. Doss’s older brother, Harold and his father were/had enlisted in the Army as well. Doss registers as a conscientious objector due to his religious beliefs. A conscientious objector is one who claims the right to refuse to perform military services based on religion, freedom of thought, conscience and disability. Doss refuses to bear arms due to his religious beliefs and in doing so, he is mocked, threatened and beaten by men in his unit.
During these tough times, he continues to pray every night and look to God for guidance. He keeps a bible with a picture of his fiancee close to his chest to serve as a reminder of the two things that keep him going when times get hard, his faith and the love of his life, Dorothy (played by Teresa Palmer). The bible and the picture are sentimental gifts given to him by Dorothy.
The Battle of Okinawa
When private Doss and his fellow men are stationed in Okinawa, they see quickly how gruesome and horrific war is. They see what they are up against and fight to survive and help fellow soldiers. Within a couple days a lot of the soldiers are wounded or dead. Most of the remaining soldiers retreat to the bases while Doss stays behind to save those who are injured or are in danger of being killed by the enemy.
There is a scene that resonates me with me deeply and is my favorite part of the movie. When Doss is near the edge of the cliff he calls out to God pleading with him to “give me one more Lord, help me to save one more”. He spends the whole night bringing down wounded soldiers (U.S. & Japanese soldiers) by ropes to lower them to safety. He loses track of how many men he saves as he continues to go back to the battlefield physically unarmed but spiritually armed by God.
He leaves none of his man behind and his unit is astounded by how a lean, unarmed soldier can survive in the battlefield for as long as he did. The next day, his unit waits on him to finish praying before heading into battle. As a seventh day Adventist, the Sabbath day is sacred and no work is to be done that day. Since they are entering the battlefield on Saturday, he prays until he feels in his spirit it is time to enter the battlefield.
Life after Okinawa
After the war, private Doss receives the Congressional Medal of Honor for his courage, for his bravery and his extraordinary acts amid war. In the end of the movie, the real Desmond Doss speaks about his experience serving, as well as his brother, Harold. The ending of the movie shows pictures of Desmond and his wife Dorothy who passed away in 1991.
My final thoughts
I left the movie theater feeling inspired, full of hope and in awe of how God uses those who put their trust in him. When private Doss is mocked, threatened and beaten by men and his unit, John 16:33 popped into my mind,“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” In this moment Jesus is speaking to the disciples about what is to come. When it seems everyone is against you, God will fight for you, he will be right by your side, guiding you. Faith is a journey that can take us to places we would never imagine for our lives all we have to be is willing to trust God.
*Picture courtesy of Google Images
Stay Blessed y’all