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, men were forced to scale cliffs in order to fight their Japanese enemies. The result is depicted in the film Hacksaw Ridge directed by Mel Gibson.
This is the true story of Desmond Doss, a young man with an abusive alcoholic father,who decides to become a conscientious objector. Albeit he is a seven-day Adventist, who won’t touch a gun, he can’t stand by when everybody is volunteering to help their country in World War II. He decides that he wants to enlist in the army and become a be a combat medic, to save soldiers lives, instead of taking people's lives. So, even though he has a new fiance at home, he enlists in the army. After many struggles about joining, without touching a gun, he is finally accepted and goes off to war in Japan. 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 off, Doss had a violent and abusive alcoholic father and, as a child, had violent tendencies (he hit his brother in the head with a brick). But instead of following this path, he is able to turn his life around by listening to God. After the incident with the brick, he vows to God that he will never hurt anyone again. Secondly, he is able to remain steadfast in these beliefs through his whole life. When he starts off his training in the army, he faces many challenges. He is hated by his comrades, beat up profusely, and told that if he didn’t drop out of the army he would be put in prison. Even through all this, he never handles a weapon. And lastly, when everyone thought that he would just be a distraction during battle, he was able to overcome this and make the greatest difference of all.
What’s unique about this film is the fact that it's a gruesome war movie, but it is about peace as well, for Doss is able to contribute to the war and help the country, without even laying a finger on a weapon. Therefore, war movie fans, along with pacifists and religious people would delight in this film.
If you appreciate symbolism in films, then this is the movie for you. With many religious symbols (like bodies forming the cross) and using weapons for good, it is hard to miss the message of this movie. It reveals that you can solve matters just as well without violence. This film is filled with positive messages and is a must see for anyone who wants to know how you can remain loyal to your beliefs in difficult times, and how, without a weapon, you can defy all odds and make a huge contribution to the war.