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Film Review: “Hacksaw Ridge”

By Lindsey DeRoche; For the Clock
On March 9, 2017

Film Review: “Hacksaw Ridge” 

Lindsey DeRoche

For The Clock

lederoche@plymouth.edu

For those who enjoy military movies, especially those that focus on a particular soldier’s story, “Hacksaw Ridge” is a film worth seeing. It is filled with military history, raw depictions of warfare, and one man’s story of unwavering conviction.

“Hacksaw Ridge” is directed by actor/director Mel Gibson. It was released in November 2016, and played last month at The Flying Monkey. “Hacksaw Ridge” is based on the true story of Army soldier Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), and his experience as a medic in the Pacific theater during World War II.

The tagline for the film on movie posters is “one of the greatest heroes in American history never fired a bullet.”

The tagline refers to the fact that Doss, who was a Seventh-day Adventist, was a medic who refused to carry a weapon during his time in the military due to his religious views. In the film, as World War II rages, Doss enlists in the Army because of a feeling of duty to his country. But Doss does not believe that killing, even during wartime, is something that his religious ties will allow him to do.

Naturally, during basic training in the Army and his beginning military career, Doss faces not only the resentment of his superiors and comrades, but is almost court-martialed for not complying with commands. As a viewer, it is frustrating to watch Doss’ plight, and to grapple with the idea of being in battle without a weapon, since war is already anxiety-inducing.

Doss eventually wins his position as an Army medic that does not carry a weapon as a conscientious objector– an individual who has claimed the right to refuse military service. Throughout the film, viewers cannot help but be drawn to the boyish charm Andrew Garfield radiates while portraying Doss.

His character has a strong grasp on his own moral compass, as well as a sense of duty. He never preaches or attempts to project his personal views onto others, which is also a likeable trait.

Within the film, Doss and his comrades fight in Okinawa, Japan. The battle scenes are intensely graphic; gore, chaos, and the horrifying reali- ties of war are depicted realistically. None of the violence is superfluous; it almost allows you to enter into the bedlam of battle as a viewer. Doss’ character shows a selfless willingness to risk his life for others.

Andrew Garfield delivers an in-spiring, and at times tear jerking, authentic performance. This film is definitely one worth seeing as soon as possible for fans of the genre. It is currently out on DVD on on-demand services.

Upcoming films at The Flying Monkey include “The Secret of Kells” playing March 12 and 19, and “The Red Turtle” playing March 14-15 and 18-19 . For more information, visit www.flyingmonkeynh.com. 

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