What to Watch: Hacksaw Ridge

World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history; 11 million people died in the Holocaust alone. Soldiers struggled to muster the courage to face the horrors of battle. And while many found the steel within to fight on, one man found the courage to save lives.

Hacksaw Ridge is Mel Gibson’s new World War II biographical film about the heroics of Desmond T. Doss. Doss was a devout Christian (Seventh-day Adventist) and refused to kill any enemy soldiers in battle. Because of this choice, he became a medic in the US Army and served in the Pacific theater, where the United States fought Japan for supremacy in the Pacific ocean. Doss single-handedly rescued 75 wounded soldiers from battle, carrying them away from enemy fire. For his selfless acts of valor he was awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest decoration in the U.S. military.

Doss became the unlikely hero, proving his courage while adhering to his religious beliefs. His story is nothing short of awe-inspiring.  The film Hacksaw Ridge focuses on the Battle of Okinawa, where Doss saved 75 of his comrades. It stars Andrew Garfield as Doss, and features Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, and Hugo Weaving in supporting roles. I am interested in seeing how Mel Gibson directed the film, as he has directed powerful war epics such as Braveheart and Apocalypto. Although there is violence throughout, it is not the main focus of the film, a difference that sets this film apart from Mel’s other works. Hacksaw Ridge contains spiritual as well as anti-war themes to accurately portray Doss’ attitude in the midst of all the violence.

Out in theaters November 4th, Hacksaw Ridge has received positive reviews from critics and currently holds a 92% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. This film is a tribute to Doss and a testament to the belief that greatness can come from the most unlikely places.