Sometimes a conscientious objector can still be a badass, 3.5 readers.
BQB here with a review of Hacksaw Ridge.
OBLIGATORY SPOILER WARNING
This film tells the story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), an Army medic who became the first conscientious objector to win the Medal of Honor after saving seventy-five men during the Battle of Hacksaw Ridge in World War II Japan.
Having experienced too much violence as a young man, the devoutly religious Doss vows to never commit violence and would rather die than hurt anyone, even if that someone is about to hurt him.
Naturally, the Army is puzzled as to why the hell he voluntarily signed-up if he won’t carry a rifle.
His superiors, played by Vince Vaughn and Sam Worthington, go out of their way to get him tossed out of the army as they can’t fathom the idea of a soldier who is unwilling to learn how to shoot a weapon.
Will Doss earn their respect in the end?
The first half of the film is a tad hokey. Lots of war movie cliches mixed in with Doss’ battle with the brass to pass basic training without touching a gun.
The second half is a blood and guts fest. Explosions and gun fire galore. Stabbings, mutilations, flame throwers, grenades, missing limbs, all kinds of gore.
Movies are able to speak with images and the message the director is giving us is, “war is hell.”
Some films and the overall media try to capture what it is like to be a soldier and fail. Patriotic movies are all well and good but this movie takes us onto the battle field in all of its “Holy shit my friend just got his face blown off and now a guy is stabbing me and holy crap my face is on fire and my leg just got blown off!” butt puckering glory.
Thus, if you want to join the army, make sure you’re joining for the right reasons (not just because a spiffy uniform is involved) and understand there will be many butt puckering moments you won’t be able to even comprehend until you face them.
Further, politicians should consider what soldiers must go through during war time and avoid war at all costs.
That’s the message I took away from it, anyway.
It’s definitely an underdog story as Doss takes heaps of abuse from his unit for his non-violent ways only to prove his bravery and save tons of men on the battlefield.
Speaking of underdogs, Mel Gibson’s career is also on the line here.
You remember Mel, don’t you?
Beloved actor/director. Starred in and directed a lot of great movies. Had a reputation of “Well, if Mel’s in it then it will be good” and then he had some, well, I won’t get into the details but let’s just say some well documented breakdowns.
Since then, he’s starred in some films that were sort of blah. This is Hollywood letting him at the helm with a big budget and a great script so…I mean the film is fabulous Oscar bait and though I don’t wear my emotion on my sleeve, even I found myself crying as Desmond proved all the naysayers wrong…
…but, it is still hard to get over those nasty rants, Mel. I don’t know. You might have to cure cancer or something.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy and worth a trip to the theater for the explosions, but skip the popcorn if you don’t want to hurl once the guts and limbs and assorted body parts start flying.