On April 1st 1942 Desmond Doss, along with many more young men, joined the military. He felt it was his duty to serve and protect his country and so he served as a combat medic. The only difference between Doss and his fellow soldiers was that he didn’t believe in killing. Being raised as a Seventh-day Adventist, Doss’ religious beliefs were everything he stood for and due to this he went into battle with no weapon at all, yet his faith and bravery in the battle of Okinawa led him to saving the lives of 75 wounded men on top of the Maeda Escarpment.
Over the years, Desmond Doss’ story has been retold by many different people on various platforms but the most recent retelling of this heroic tale is that of Mel Gibsons Hacksaw Ridge, which was released in cinemas the tale end of last week.
The film tackles the story head on and if anything, could probably have gotten away with using less detail. As you’re well aware, my blog is no Empire or Total Film magazine but even from the civilian reviewers perspective you can see that Gibson wanted to leave no stone unturned, from every inch of the story to the fine detail of the wounds inflicted by the numerous gunshots and explosions.
Obviously, I have never seen battle first hand but I imagine this portrayal couldn’t have been far off the real thing and as a director, Gibson successfully manages to make the audience feel such empathy not only for the men on the screen, nor the real life heroes these actors are portraying but for all the men and women who have the courage and bravery to fight for their country.
Andrew Garfield delivers a strong, heartfelt representation of the heroic Desmond Doss. Captivating audiences with his passion for the role, you almost have to remind yourself that he’s the actor and not Doss himself. Garfields believabilty is an undeniable skill.
Bringing unexpected humour to this emotional retelling is supporting actor Vince Vaughn, offering the audience some lighthearted laughs in the middle of an epic battle of not only war but religious beliefs and the struggle to hold on to your own humanity when all else seems lost.
Hacksaw Ridge is in cinemas across the UK now.