“With the world set on tearing itself apart, it don’t seem so bad of me to put a little bit of it back together.” These were the words of Desmond Doss when he was under trial. His religious beliefs prevented him from bearing arms, yet he was driven to serve his nation in the time of war. Despite being ridiculed and badgered for his pacifism, he stood true to his principles and never picked up a rifle in his entire service as a combat medic. This incredible story is impeccably presented by Mel Gibson who has made a bruising, fantastically moving comeback with his creation ‘Hacksaw Ridge’. Gibson, does complete justice to the travails of our pacifist soldier, while remaining a master of blood and gore.
Gibson shows some of the storytelling relish he had in his jungle drama ‘Apocalypto’ and the insatiable taste for blood and guts he had demonstrated in his controversial ‘The Passion for The Christ’. The picture of war is ruthless, intense, even unwatchable at times, seems as if all this violence is there to compensate for Doss’ passivity. The credit for this brutal yet gripping depiction of war goes to screenwriters Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight, who have enabled Gibson in staging a mystifying comeback. Also Andrew Garfield plays Doss close to perfection. He effectively portrays the depth of Doss’ religious beliefs with respect and believability and thoroughly deserves his Oscar nomination. But what makes Doss’ story so spellbinding and inspiring and how did he defy all odds and achieve such an insurmountable feat? Read on..
“In peace sons bury their fathers. In war fathers bury their sons.” The second of the world wars was the harbinger of many things: agony, anger, anguish, separation, not to mention the 60-85 million deaths that transpired through the course of the war. Wars are usually associated with winners, but if you think about it, there are no winners in war, though the only loser is humanity. Just as one is about to lose one’s faith in humanity, there emerges a war story that rekindles one’s beliefs and emphatically celebrates the feelings that make us what we actually are: humans. Over the years we’ve all heard numerous stories of war that inspired us and reawakened our faith in humanity. The greatest story, in my opinion, would be of Oskar Schindler, who saved over a thousand lives from their fate in concentration camps and thus establishes the greatest story about humanity from man to man. But I’m not going to talk about Schindler here, instead I’m going to tell you about another inspiring story. A story that it too incredible to be true. A story that illustrates the strength of human conviction. The story of Desmond Doss, a valid conscientious objector, who despite being offered a deferment for his shipyard work, enlisted in the army and went on to work wonders.
Amidst the brutal atrocities of war, our protagonist, Desmond Doss demonstrates compassion and magnanimity, things which are rarely existent in the battlefield. Now what inspires Doss to renounce his weapon in the field of war yet serve as a combat medic? The answer can be traced back to his childhood and years as a teen, which were filled with agonizing and excruciating incidents involving his drunk and aggressive father, Tom Doss. Tom Doss suffered from PTSD since his return from the battlefield and used to invariably thrash his sons or even at times his wife. Such painful flashbacks made Doss decide to forever remain true to the Sixth Commandment, “Thou Shalt Not Kill”. While his father pulled off his belt to thrash him and his brother, Doss in his later years, used his to apply a tourniquet, saving the life of a man who was the victim of a horrifying car accident. This untrained knack for medical skill combined with his urge to put the world back together, stirred Doss to enlist and save more and more lives.