Blood and guts movies are not my thing and, if that’s all Hacksaw Ridge is, I’d still have the $9 senior citizen ticket money in my pocket. But I'd heard enough buzz about the movie that I had to find out more. Then when I learned the story – and that it was true - I thought, my goodness, if someone could live that, the least I can do is watch it.
This is not a movie review. I'm not here to debate whether it's a Christian flick (hmmm, good question, maybe, but maybe not), whether or not I like the producer, Mel Gibson (not all that much, but I don’t know him), or even whether any of the blood is gratuitous (depends on point of view but then what doesn’t). There seems no doubt that this tale is not just BASED on a true story, it IS a true story. The heart of the movie is literally in a man named Desmond Doss. His story tells how he walked through hell to serve his country during World War II as a Conscientious Objector. And that was just basic training. The battle at Hacksaw Ridge in Okinawa and his role in that hell defies belief.
I'm crushed that this man was alive until 2006 and I never knew his name until now. There are so many layers to his story which is beautifully, horrifically, heartbreakingly, and upliftingly shared in this movie. How this brave man was a witness to his faith and still became the first conscientious objector to ever receive the Medal of Honor is nothing short of remarkable. But the ultimate testimony of the tough guys in his rifle company who first considered him a coward is the true victory.
Cover your eyes in the theater at times if you must. But you will still walk away humbled anew for all the sacrifices that the horrors of war require, and for the miracles that can still happen therein. Never would I have ever considered that this much gore could possibly be a feel-good movie. Desmond Doss and his determination to live his faith has just changed that, but then real life heroes and truth can change anything.