Movie Blurb by Shale
November 7, 2016
I don't usually see war movies. I did not see Saving Private Ryan.(1998), Pearl Harbor (2001) or Flags of Our Fathers / Letters from Iwo Jima (2006). Platoon (1986) & Full Metal Jacket (1987) may have been the last ones I saw.
However, this one caught my interest in the trailers and I learned that it took very little artistic license for a movie based on a true story about Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) a conscientious objector to killing in World War II.
Doss is a naive country boy in the mountains of Virginia whose mother is very religious Seventh Day Adventist. His father is a WWI veteran who is a mean, disturbed drunk after that war. As a young man, Desmond knows how to apply a tourniquet to an injured man's leg and accompanies him to the hospital where he is credited with saving the man's life. It is here that he meets a nurse, Dorothy (Teresa Palmer) and is totally smitten by her. (Garfield does his meet cute just as awkwardly as he did in Spiderman with Emma Stone) .
Dorothy & Desmond Meet
Desmond and his brother Hal come of age during WWII and against the wishes of their father both end up joining the army. Desmond goes in as a conscientious objector, planning to be a medic and save ppls lives rather than kill them but this does not go well in basic where he is required to qualify on the rifle by Sergeant Howell (Vince Vaughn) which he refuses. This then goes up the chain of command to Captain Glover (Sam Worthington) who tries to get him out on a Section 8 discharge (crazy) but the shrink says he is quite sane.
Doss Refuses Rifle in Basic
As was still practiced 20 years later when I was in the Air Force, the misfit gets attacked by his barracks mates - but Desmond persists (and does not rat out his attackers). He still refuses to pick up his rifle and is brot up for Courts Martial for insubordination. He is facing prison but gets thru that when a General reveals that conscientious objectors are protected by the U.S. Constitution.
Dorothy & Desmond in Meet in Prison
So, Desmond is sent into war without a gun and this is where he displays his courage in the face of fire and earns the respect of his company by saving lives of men who would otherwise had died.
Doss the Medic
Doss in Battle
This movie is directed by Mel Gibson, a man whom I lost much respect for a few years ago with his drunken bigotry outbursts. But who else but a guy who deems himself more Catholic than the Pope to do a movie about a religious pacifist surviving in a vicious war. He done good. (Just like that grumpy old conservative Clint Eastwood, who also has directed some real quality movies).
But, know that this movie is R rated because of the realistic portrayal of men being butchered in war. Blood spurts from head shots to legs being blown off, it all is frenetic, bloody and looks real.
On a personal note, this movie made me think of my Uncle Bill, whom I never met. He died at the age of 19 in the Pacific War a couple months before I was born. Seeing this battle on Okinawa made me wonder if this was the bloody chaos that my unfortunate uncle, with thousands of other young men (boys) experienced as they died.
The aggregate critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie an 89% Fresh and 96% of audiences liked it. their consensus was, "Hacksaw Ridge uses a real-life pacifist's legacy to lay the groundwork for a gripping wartime tribute to faith, valor, and the courage of remaining true to one's convictions."