Coming out nationwide on Friday, Nov. 4, World War II drama “Hacksaw Ridge,” directed by Mel Gibson, features a main character who’s a Seventh Day Adventist — indeed, he’d kind of a superhero in Adventist circles — but his strong faith in Christ and reliance on Him in the face of the unimaginable resonates from the days of the Apostles to the modern martyrs all around the world.
Even if you’re not religious, there’s a universal appeal to the idea that a man like Army medic Desmond Doss (played by Andrew Garfield) — whose pacifist beliefs forbid him from holding a gun but compelled him to save the lives of friends and foes alike during a brutal battle on Okinawa — had firm beliefs and stood strong in them in the face of ridicule, abuse and institutional pressure. Any man or woman of principle will one day have to face detractors, and we all could take a lesson from Doss, who had malice toward none and charity to all.
The film may also represent a Hollywood redemption of sorts for Mel Gibson, which I discussed here.
Some Catholic leaders have spoken out about the movie, which I believe may be a serious award contender, for star Garfield if nothing else. Here’s what they had to say:
“’Hacksaw Ridge’ powerfully communicates the horror of war, and yet urges us to strive earnestly for lasting peace. It demonstrates that deeply held religious convictions do not hinder love of country and service to it. Desmond Doss reminded me of what every chaplain does in a conflict: serve as a force multiplier. Do not miss the opportunity to see ‘Hacksaw Ridge.’” The Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services, USA
“‘Hacksaw Ridge’ is a WWII movie that will rival ‘Saving Private Ryan’ in graphic realism and powerful personal storytelling, only this story is true, with Desmond Doss keeping his commitment to God. Gripping war scenes, sweet romance and laugh-out-loud funny bits will keep you entertained throughout.” Rick Santorum, former Senator and presidential candidate
“This movie is a reminder that goodness triumphs over evil ALWAYS, and that kindness and good acts are sure to bring about light and hope in the midst of darkness. A must see!” Rev. Jude Ekenedilichukwu Ezuma, Personal Priest Secretary, Office of Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
“When the greatest struggle finally came, he was well prepared because Faith was the strength by which this heroic young man lived. Excellent film — we need more such films of real-life heroes!” Mother Assumpta, OP, Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist
“It’s the true story of a man with conviction, courage and character.” Father David Guffey, C.S.C., head of production at Family Theater Productions
The movie also speaks for itself (note, while all the f-words and blasphemy have been removed from the movie, it’s still rated R, for some profanity and realistic combat violence) …
Images: Courtesy Lionsgate