Wars remind us about the devastating atrocities mankind carries out on itself. In the last century, mankind witnessed countless wars, civil wars and two World Wars. Almost the whole world was engulfed in the World Wars. World War 2 was way more devastating than the First World War. The story we will see in Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge (2016), however, is all about saving lives during the Second World War rather than taking it.
The movie is based on the true story of Pfc. Desmond T Doss, who won the Congressional Medal of Honour despite refusing to bear arms during WWII on religious grounds. The protagonist's role was played by eminent actor Andrew Garfield who was previously well-known for his role in the Amazing Spiderman series.
The opening scene of the movie starts at Lynchburg, Virginia in 1925 where Doss was involved in a ruckus with his brother. During that altercation, Doss nearly killed his brother. Doss's Seventh-day Adventist origins and the memory of the dangerous encounter with his brother cemented his faith in the commandment "thou shalt not kill". Specifically, "You shall not kill (KJV), included as one of the Ten Commandments in the Torah (Exodus 20:13). " Later the movie delineated how Doss kept his virtue on the battlefields.
After the attack of Pearl Harbour(1941), America declared war against Japan in the Pacific theatre. While the American youth were enlisting themselves in the army to seek vengeance one man's thought was completely different. Doss enrolled himself in the Army to serve soldiers for medical purposes. Doss's father, a WWI veteran, did not like this decision. Then the journey began.
In the movie, the viewers may be able to draw similarities with another iconic war genre movie, Saving Private Ryan(1997). According to the New York Times, the portrayal of the battlefield in Hacksaw Ridge was more suited to a horror movie than a war movie. Being repeatedly bullied, beaten, challenged by his countrymen, Doss did not compromise his vow of non-violence. Doss was the only American soldier in WWII to fight without a weapon, as he believed that while the war was justified, killing was a sin and fundamentally wrong. As an army medic, he single-handedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, braved gunfire while tending to soldiers, wounded by a grenade, and shot by snipers.
The screenplay was fabulous during the whole running time. Wounded bodies, burning flesh, the screams of the soldiers portrayed the horrors of war effectively. Another striking part of the movie was the Japanese tradition of no-surrender and their spirit to fulfil their oath. The Japanese soldiers were also depicted with sagacity. Often called 'hara-kiri' in the West, 'seppuku' is a form of ritual suicide that originated with Japan's ancient samurai warrior class and carried out in times of certain defeat.
The movie is directed by Mel Gibson. He received accolades from all over the world for his outstanding work. The movie has received numerous awards and nominations. The film received six Oscar nominations at the 89th Academy Awards, including ones for the Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Garfield, and Best Sound Editing, winning the awards for Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing. It also received Golden Globe nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor. It got an IMDB rating of 8.1 and 96 percent of the users in Google liked it.
If you are a fan of the war movie genre and want to see how a man fought a battle without firing a bullet and returned victoriously, Hacksaw Ridge is the movie for you.
The author is currently studying International Relations at Jahangirnagar University.