HACKSAW RIDGE is a great, powerful, emotive Christian war movie. Andrew Garfield stars as Desmond Doss. Desmond’s father is an abusive alcoholic because of the terrible things he experienced during World War I. When World War II breaks out, Desmond and his brother join the service. However, Desmond promised God he would never touch a weapon or take a life. So, he enlists as a conscientious objector medic. Eventually, the Army permits Desmond to go into battle without a weapon. Armed only with his faith, Desmond enters one of the most brutal battles in the war.
Brilliantly directed by Mel Gibson, HACKSAW RIDGE is a captivating movie about uncompromising faith and miraculous courage. It will make you laugh and cry. It’s a story about not compromising one’s values, faith and commitment to God, and about standing firm when others try to force you to compromise. Eventually, Desmond’s courage and heroic commitment to Jesus Christ changes hearts and minds. HACKSAW RIDGE is truly a great movie, but there’s lots of strong, bloody violence and some foul language; so, strong caution is advised.
(CCC, BBB, PPP, LL, VVV, S, N, AA, D) Extremely strong Christian, biblical worldview with the hero being willing to lay down his life even for his enemies and extolling faith, prayer, conviction on the Bible, forgiveness, and compassion, with many overt references and discussions on what the Bible says about killing and violence; strong patriotic message about serving in the military even if you refuse to take a life; 27 obscenities and three profanities, but the “f” words were edited out; very strong and strong war violence with blood splatter includes men shot and stabbed and blown to pieces by grenades, dead mutilated bodies are shown in various forms of disfigurement, Japanese commander ritually stabs himself (hari-kari) and is decapitated, boy hits brother in the head with a brick, father beats his wife; several kisses between unmarried couple and implied sex after couple gets married, but camera cuts away quickly; upper male nudity and rear male nudity; drinking and drunkenness, though not condoned; smoking but no drug use; and, characters try to get Christian man to compromise his convictions, but they confess.
HACKSAW RIDGE is a great, emotive, powerful, touching Christian war movie, superbly directed by Mel Gibson, about Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), a courageous conscientious objector who serves as an unarmed medic during the brutal battle of Okinawa in World War II.
The movie opens with Desmond as a young boy in rural Virginia. Desmond’s father Thomas (Hugo Weaving), haunted by the violence he witnessed in the First World War, has turned to alcohol to numb the pain. As a result, Desmond and his brother have grown up in a violent and dysfunctional home, and both of them want to protect their mother from their father’s violent outbursts.
As Desmond grows into a young man, he begins showing interest in the medical field, and even more interest in a pretty nurse named Dorothy. Awkward and unschooled, Desmond successfully courts Dorothy, and they get engaged. When World War II breaks out, his brother joins the service against the vehement objection of their father. Desmond joins the army as well to do his part. The only problem is that Desmond promised God he would never touch a weapon or take a life.
Desmond enlists as a conscientious objector, but immediately in training he’s targeted by the colorful Sergeant Howell (Vince Vaughn) and Captain Glover (Sam Worthington). They view him as a useless soldier and a danger to the rest of the Infantry Division. Ridiculed, beaten and taunted, Desmond holds to his personal convictions and expresses his desire to save lives as a medic. Eventually, before being court marshaled for disobeying the Captain, the charges are dismissed on constitutional grounds. The Army gives Desmond permission to go into battle without a weapon.
Shipped off to fight the Japanese in the Pacific, Desmond enters one of the most brutal and bloody battles in the war. Filled with a desire to save as many people as he can, Desmond is only armed with his Christian faith.
HACKSAW RIDGE demonstrates the brilliance of acclaimed filmmaker Mel Gibson. With his most overt faith-oriented movie besides THE PASSION, Gibson beautifully shares Desmond’s heroic story without watering down its overt Christian elements. Andrew Garfield does a phenomenal job portraying Desmond’s solid Christian faith and beliefs in a humble and passionate manner. Vince Vaughn balances the drama as the humorous, offensive drill sergeant. At the heart of the story, Desmond is a Christ figure who’s willing to sacrifice himself not only for his friends, but also for his enemies. In fact, the entire movie is a call to faith in Jesus Christ.
The subject of non-violence is addressed incredibly tastefully. While many may disagree with Desmond’s interpretation of biblical passages on violence, Desmond doesn’t pass judgment on those willing to take a life in the context of war. He simply wants to preserve his own convictions and stay true to what he believes God wants him to do. Desmond also directly acknowledges his own sin, including the attempted murder of his father in his own heart through hate. At the court martial hearing, Desmond tells his wife to tell his father that he loves him.
Ultimately, then, HACKSAW RIDGE isn’t a story about pacifism. It’s a story about the importance of not compromising one’s values, faith and commitment to God, and about standing firm when others try to force you to compromise. Eventually, Desmond’s courage and heroic commitment to Jesus Christ changes the hearts and minds of his fellow soldiers and commanders and attests to the importance of prayer, faith and standing on convictions.
The war violence in HACKSAW RIDGE is gruesome, bloody and sometimes very difficult to watch. Thankfully, all “f” words used in production were edited out, but several lighter obscenities are in the movie. A strong caution is advised due to these elements.
All in all, however, HACKSAW RIDGE is a captivating, very emotional, brilliant, entertaining movie about uncompromising faith and miraculous courage that will make you laugh and cry. It is truly a great movie. Mel knows how to touch the audience’s emotions to communicate the Truth of Christian faith in Jesus.
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