Hacksaw Ridge Movie is a game changer for those who think taking lives is alright. It is powerful enough to stand against ideologies, makes you want to question your belief, and puts the right thoughts that brazen heads tend to overlook. There is nothing noble in war. It swallows everything in its wake. People need to see that. The struggling life of a man named Desmond Doss who spent his life in the service of others, who made a promise to himself to not touch a gun in his life, and the conscientious objector who puts everyone who thinks “war is just” to shame, is a life worth celebrating.
Clashing Ideologies of Men
People don’t get the concept of peace very well. Many don’t understand why it is important not to kill anybody and to live in perfect harmony with each other. They consider fighting to be the only way to get there. For such multitude, a mere clash in idea or ideologies has to be sorted out with a fight. It is a thrilling way to live when you are proving your mettle with your might and not brains; One has to almost agree to it to feel the adrenaline rush. But if you just sit for a while and ask why? Why fight? Reckon the cost one is forced to pay to go through a war. You will realize it isn’t the right way after all.
War is not right. It has never been just. War shouldn’t happen in the first place. Taking a life is the biggest curse. It is important to realize that a country is prepping up heartless creatures as an excuse to fight their wars in the name of security and defense. Soldiers are akin to dispensable robots created under the belying aegis of patriotism, and they are monsters on fields, slaying people who are just like them to gain something they will never gain – Peace!
I mean how could any sane man live after that?
Desmond Doss – A Real Hero
Whilst it’s a message that is hard for people to understand, and a raging debate that might go on and on, Desmond Doss a real wise man chose to actually do something about it. Joining an army just to save people without picking up a gun, it is a commendable feat per se. With its superlative pensive concept, Hacksaw Ridge movie was already on its way to become huge. With a power pack performance by Andrew Garfield (was exceptional in Silence as well) and a great direction by Mel Gibson, the movie turns out to be a colossal biopic indeed.
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Plot of Hacksaw Ridge Movie (Spoilers Ahead)
Hacksaw Ridge movie is a biopic so the plot of the flick comprises mostly of the happenings around the real life of Desmond Doss. But to piece them correctly you have got to praise Mel Gibson and the screenplay writers Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight who end up doing a fabulous job at the montage and writing.
To begin with, it is the accidental fight with his younger brother Hal that puts that painful searing empathy inside the heart of Desmond. He had almost ended up killing his brother which made him see what he was about to do. With a grunting insane dad Tom (Hugo Weaving) in the backdrop whipping him, and him not feeling what was happening around him, that empathy of blood in his hands was punishment enough for Desmond. The commandment “Thou shalt not kill” houses in him then and there and he promises to abide by it come what may.
He grows up to be a fine young man played by Andrew Garfield who is keen on helping people and saving lives. He meets Dorothy Schutte played by Teresa Palmer when he takes an injured man to the hospital. Love blooms gorgeously as he confides in her, his interest towards medical stuff.
With an unceasing desire to join the army as a combat medic, he enrolls himself to the dismay of his Dad. On his way to join, he proposes Dorothy for marriage and she accepts.
Joining the Army
Put under the watchful scornful eyes of Vince Vaughn‘s Sergeant Howell, he is constantly pestered by his own fellow soldiers owing to his disapproval of guns. Finding his reason absurd Captain Glover (Sam Worthington) and Howell, try to discharge him immediately under the pretext of him being mentally unstable. When they fail Desmond is put to test under punishing labour, beaten many times by his comrades, so as to make him quit. But Desmond’s resolve is unflinching.
On the grounds of insubordination, Desmond Doss is arrested and not granted leave like others on completing his training. He was supposed to marry Dorothy but he fails to show up at the wedding since he was imprisoned. Dorothy visits him in prison beseeching him to plead guilty, but Desmond’s dogged staunchness will put every resolute man to shame.
I don’t know how I’m going to live with myself if I don’t stay true to what I believe.
In a dramatic turn of events his Dad, who was a veteran of World War I, shows up with a letter from a higher authority that overrules all laws. Charges on him get dropped and he goes on to marry Dorothy.
Battle of Okinawa
It is during the battle of Okinawa that Desmond’s steadfastness as a medic is brought to test. It was Maeda Escarpment also known as Hacksaw Ridge where his battalion 96th Infantry Division was supposed to charge up and secure the mountain. While both the armies suffer heavy damage, the infantry decides to hole up at night.
Owing to a massive counterattack by the Japanese the other day, Americans are scared off of the escarpment. But Desmond doesn’t leave as he chooses to stay to save soldiers in the wake of the disaster. One by one he finds injured soldiers on the field and rappels them down from the cliff.
Help me get one more.
The scene is so poignant that it will bring tears to your eyes. A man that nobody liked owing to his strange disparate belief is the one who stands the bravest in the wake of a lost battle. He is saving lives running from soldier to soldier, giving them hope, resuscitating them with life, rappelling them down the Ridge. And such selflessness! In that dire time where a wrong move could cost him his own life, all he asks is to be able to save one more life. It is just crazy as hell.
Saving Lives Selflessly
In an attempt to save lives he finds Howell holed up and injured. The guy who never appreciated him, and who constantly tried to ensure mercilessly that he was expelled from the Army. Yet finding Desmond to the rescue fills Howell with hope. And Desmond with utter divine forgiveness and loyalty chooses to save him despite the hell he had to go through under Howell’s carnage.
Watching the ridge spurt out the wounded every now and then, the medic unit down below becomes active and inspired. At one point Doss ends up entering the enemy bunker and saving an injured enemy too. This highlights the humanity Desmond Doss had in him all along. It’s beyond faces and races. It respects a fellow human being for being one and judges no one.
He saves Howell’s life as well bringing him down safely. With Captain Glover ready to take back the Ridge next day, everyone wished to have the heroic medic by their side. Doss leads them into the battle, deflects grenades saving countless lives in the process but ends up wounding himself. The battle is won nevertheless.
In the end, through real life clips, we are told that Desmond Doss saved 75 lives at Hacksaw Ridge. Only a true hero could do that. He was presented the highest, Medal of Honor by the then President Truman.
The Ugliness of War
Mel Gibson doesn’t stop himself from showing gut-wrenching gore. The word has to go out and he seems keen on showing us minutia that repulse us beyond limit. But in doing so he often shows us the cliches we have come across so many times before.
For instance, there is this infantry sitting comfortably inside a bunker recollecting all those who perished. You can sense the contrivance in that image kicking in as if Mel wanted that scene to be deliberately put.
The Company B soldier quotes Herodotus out of nowhere:
In peace, sons bury their fathers. In war, fathers bury their sons.
Whilst the message was great, it felt as if it was forced. There is lesser realism in Mel’s direction of Hacksaw Ridge movie and there are so many instances strewn all across where you can almost pinpoint why the director might have gone with a particular scene. It kills realistic cinema.
The Final Verdict
It is really sad that there are fewer heroes who propagate non-violence and fewer who are willing to follow the golden rule of living. The world is abounding with hotheaded youth who are yet to see the pointlessness of it. They might not see what Desmond saw all his life.
Desmond Doss was the one who advocated it whilst being in one of the ugliest places mankind could find itself in – right at the center of it. The message nevertheless stays loud and clear.
Thou shalt not kill.
A movie this beautiful needs to be celebrated. The life of a true hero needs to be revered. It is sad that there is defiance at every corner when you are trying to do the right thing, but not falling back looking at the face of the adversity is how heroes get made.
Hacksaw Ridge movie is a biopic that we need today. We need it to make people comprehend why it is not alright to hurt people. Why it is not alright to go to war, and why it is of prime importance to save each other from ripping each other apart.
With the world so set on tearing itself apart, it don’t seem like such a bad thing to me to want to put a little bit of it back together.
You can check out the trailer of Hacksaw Ridge movie here:
- Outstanding Biopic
- Desmond Doss as the true hero the world deserves
- Andrew Garfield's impeccable acting
- Extraordinary direction
- Great screenplay
- Contrived feel at times
- Unrestrained gore might not be for everyone