Film Preview: “Hacksaw Ridge”

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Just in time for Veterans Day, Mel Gibson (The Passion of the Christ) is releasing his latest faith film production, Hacksaw Ridge, the incredible true story of PFC Desmond Doss during World War II. Private Doss was a medic determined “to serve those who are serving”—albeit as a conscientious objector, refusing to carry a gun or to kill another human being.

Along with persecution and ridicule from his fellow soldiers, Doss endured the threat of being court-martialed or declared mentally unfit by superior officers infuriated by his refusal to carry a gun. Prayer was the only weapon he would ever bring to the battlefield.

His resolve was tested most during the bloody Battle of Okinawa. Doss refused to seek cover, braving shot and shell to carry 75 men—the same comrades who had beaten and condemned him—to safety from behind enemy lines. His outstanding bravery and determination made him a symbol throughout the remainder of the war for outstanding gallantry far above and beyond the call of duty.

During this herculean task, Doss was himself wounded by a grenade and hit by a sniper, but his faith and courage won him the admiration of his superiors and fellow-soldiers.

President Harry S. Truman awarded Doss the Congressional Medal of Honor in October 1945. He was the first conscientious objector to be so honored.

Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider Man) plays the lead role in the film, which also stars Vince Vaughn, Luke Bracey, Sam Worthington, and Teresa Palmer. The script was written by Andrew Knight (The Water Diviner), Robert Schenkkan (All The Way) and screenwriter Randall Wallace (Braveheart).

“The message about faith in God in the midst of horrific circumstances and the courage of both Doss’s convictions and of his salvific acts of heroic love are powerful,” writes Chaz Watson after an August screening at the USA Western Territorial Headquarters. “Desmond Doss’s story is remarkable and true. It has a real impact on the viewer. Desmond’s battlefield prayer, ‘Lord, help me save one more!’ is a great takeaway moment that sticks with you.”

Hacksaw Ridge proves that faith is a more powerful weapon than any other a soldier may carry into battle. The film opens nationwide on November 4, and is rated R (for war violence).

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Major Frank Duracher, Assistant Editor