The year was 1945. In the height of World War II, American troops were sent to secure the Japanese island of Okinawa for a military base. In one of the bloodiest battles of the war, the Americans were forced to scale cliffs in order to fight the enemy. This historical moment is depicted in the film “Hacksaw Ridge,” directed by Mel Gibson.
The film is the true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), a young man with an abusive, alcoholic father. This Seventh-day Adventist decides to enlist and become a combat medic to save lives instead of taking them. So, even though he leaves a new fiancée at home and he refuses to touch a gun, he goes off to war. While sticking to his beliefs, he makes the largest contribution to the battle, winning the Medal of Honor for his bravery.
This movie is inspirational on many levels. First, Doss had an abusive father and, as a child, he had violent tendencies (he hit his brother in the head with a brick). But he is able to turn his life around by listening to God. After hitting his brother, he vows that he will never hurt anyone again. Second, he remains steadfast in these beliefs throughout his life. Because of these beliefs, he is hated by his comrades. Although everyone thought he would be a distraction during battle, he made the greatest difference of all.
What’s unique about this film is that although it’s a gruesome war movie, it also is about peace as well. Fans of war movies, along with pacifists and religious people, will delight in this film.
With so much religious symbolism (for example, bodies forming a cross) and using weapons for good, it is hard to miss the message of this movie. It shows that you can solve problems without resorting to violence. This film is filled with positive messages and is a must-see for everyone.
This movie is rated R.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.