World War II, one of the bloodiest conflicts in the history of the modern world, was a time of testing for many men, young and old, who felt the urge to take up arms and defend the ideals of freedom and democracy.
Hacksaw Ridge is Mel Gibson's latest movie, and while I love all of his projects, this one stands out because of the fact that it is a film being made by such a big name Hollywood director, with a all-star cast to boot (with Spider-Man actor Andrew Garfield playing Desmond Doss, Hugo Weaving as his father and Vince Vaughn and Sam Worthington as Doss's commanding officers (and his greatest detractors because of his faith in God being Doss's reason for not picking up a weapon).
Everyone who joined up with the knowledge that they would be taking up arms and have to take human life in order to make the world a safer place. But for Desmond Doss, the urge was to join up as a medic and to save lives, not take them. Doss was a Christian, specifically a Seventh-Day Adventist, and while I could go into reams of detail about his choosing to be an Adventist, what matters more then anything, was that he held fast to the 6th Commandment "Thou Shalt Not Kill", despite receiving massive negativity from not only his fellow soldiers, but his commanding officers, as shown in the movie. And in holding fast to his tenant of not taking life, he persevered and went on to save 75 soldiers during The Battle of Okinawa, earning the respect of many members of his company, his commanding officers and being the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor for his military service.
I urge everyone who see's this film, be prepared for violence and intensity in a way that will not glorify war as most films about the subject do. Movie-goers, Christians especially, should be prepared for the joy that I felt at seeing (even a fictional portrayal of real events) a story about how faith in God should not be ridiculed or looked down on, even in a time of war.
However, with this urging to see the film, there is also caution, because while many films glorify war and combat, Mel Gibson does not hold back in depicting how bloody and violent the conflict on Hacksaw Ridge was for both the American's and Japanese soldiers.
Hacksaw Ridge has been praised by critics and movie-goers, and I am adding my praise to those voices, and I am awarding this movie four out of four stars, for its story, casting, and above all, for showing that having faith in God and holding fast to one's beliefs and values no matter what, can make a huge difference in a person's life, and in the lives of those who interact with said person.