Hacksaw + Ridge

Hacksaw + Ridge

Movie Review
by Philippe Paquette

A Mel Gibson film.

Psalm 91:7
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

Dear reader,

I will not give anything away. No worries.

(Already did with Ps 91:7… ;-).

This is a TRUE story. A true Christian story.

But it starts with men in flames, flying all over and a voiceover is heard:
“Have you not heard… The Lord is…”

The verse quoted is a synopsis of the entire movie… but most people will forget about that beginning within the first 3 minutes of this amazing movie.

A drunken father (a Corporal in WWI, Thomas Doss) appears. Kids playing… and then comes the values. Christian values based on the 7th day Adventists Faith System.

Now if any of my readers are attempting to close up at this point, let me remind you that the 7th Day Adventists are not a Sect, contrary to what too many Christians were taught. A sect rejects Fundamental Doctrines of Christianity… and the Advents don’t.

I only consider them the most and largest legalistic Christian Denomination in the world. And I equally thank God that I am not a part of them and I thank God that they remain my brothers and sisters in Christ.

A true story

This movie is a real story. A true story… and one that you should all see. Pay the price. All I care about is that you, my dear readers, see this movie. It exemplifies Courage and Christian Determination… and it is worth your time.

To achieve such a Masterpiece (deserves many Oscars) of another War movies, this one is totally different after all the thousands of War movies. In fact, this movie is an achievement that seems to be only reachable by persons like Mel Gibson.

By the way, Gibson is now considered as being the number one Christian movie maker in Hollywood (or elsewhere).

It is of interest to me since I have been a Movie Producer for some years and my two Christian sons are an AD and the other is a DoP. My youngest son (AD) wrote an amazing script for a movie and my eldest (DoP) son was also responsible for the casting. He told me that our main character “has to be Andrew Garfield”. By then, Garfield only acted in “Lions for Lambs” – an unknown actor. But my son Luc said he is our “Antoine” (name of our main character in our 5th movie still to be produced). So I was supposed, as the Producer, to reach him (or his Manager and offer him the part… but then he was caught in the “Social Network” (Sundance) and then Garfield subsequently received praise for his performance as Peter Parker in the 2012 superhero film The Amazing Spider-Man… his fame flew too far from me…  Becoming a major Actor, I failed to contact his people.

Oh well, such goes life…

Back to Hacksaw + Ridge.

Desmond Doss (Garfield), was called a “conscientious objector” but he preferred calling himself a “conscientious cooperator”.

But allow me to share one little piece of reality.

Remember that drunken “Corporal” Dad.

Well, a Dad is a Dad is a Dad.

I am still not giving anything away.

He (Dad) “historically” made it happen so that a certain military Judge would declare about our hero:

“… The Defendant’s rights, as a conscientious objector, are protected by an act of Congress and he can not be compelled to wave those rights. That includes, in this case, his disobeying orders to bear arms.”
Signed Brigadier General Musgrove, Washington D.C.

This is an amazing movie. See the movie and see what a man with Faith and Conviction to serve Christ can do in the worst of all situations. A great edifying film for all Christians.

Now let us take a look at the difference between reality (History & Hollywood). (Source: History vs Hollywood awesome website)

Click here.

My conclusion is that Mel Gibson made some modifications to the movie and that is expected. I know. I am a Film Producer. But the reality of this Desmond Ross makes him, in my opinion, an even greater hero that the film depicts him to be.

A few examples: (extracts from www.historyvshollywood.com)

  • While lowering the men down the ridge, the Japanese had a clear shot at Desmond Doss. Though it’s not depicted in the movie, one Japanese soldier recalled having Desmond in his sights, but every time he went to fire, his gun jammed. -The Conscientious Objector Documentary
  • On the night of May 21, 1945, just a half mile past the escarpment on Okinawa, Desmond’s unit inadvertently walked into a company of Japanese soldiers. The unit engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy and Desmond scrambled to treat the wounded. “They begin to throw these hand grenades,” recalled Desmond. “I saw it comin’. There were three other men in the hole with me. They were on the lower side, but I was on the other side lookin’ when they threw the thing. I knew there was no way I could get at it. So I just quickly took my left foot and threw it back to where I thought the grenade might be, and throw my head and helmet to the ground. And not more than half a second later, I felt like I was sailin’ through the air. I was seein’ stars I wasn’t supposed to be seein’, and I knew my legs and body were blown up.” The blast left 17 pieces of shrapnel embedded in Desmond’s body, mostly in his legs. -The Conscientious Objector Documentary

  • Director Mel Gibson decided to leave this out of the movie because he felt audiences would find the heroic circumstances under which it happened too hard to believe, especially after Desmond had just taken the brunt of a grenade blast to save his fellow soldiers. After the grenade left him with 17 pieces of shrapnel stuck in him, Desmond waited for five hours until fellow soldier Ralph Baker was able to reach him. Baker, along with a few other men, carried Desmond on a litter (stretcher) through an intense enemy tank attack. As they were carrying him, he saw a guy on the ground badly wounded. Desmond rolled off the stretcher and crawled over to patch the man up. Desmond gave up his stretcher to the man, but while waiting for help to come back, he was wounded again, this time by a sniper’s bullet that shattered his left arm. He fashioned a splint out of a rifle stock and crawled the remaining 300 yards under fire, eventually reaching the safety of an aid station. He was transported to the hospital ship Mercy. -The Conscientious Objector Documentary

In the full article, it saddens me to read the rest of Desmond’s life.

Enjoy the movie.


PS – My tears (Ya, I know, guys don’t cry) came when Doss said:What do you want me to do… and then he prayed… “one more…”

PPS – 2017 – 03 – 12: Post-Oscar personal notes (89th Academy Awards.) 

  • Best Film: Moonlight My pick would have been Hacksaw Ridge. simply because Hacksaw has a far deeper message, amazing stunts and special effects, a true story and a far more difficult movie to make.

  • Best Actor: Casey Affleck. Now I love Casey (more than Ben in fact) and I love all the nominees: Denzel Washington, Andrew Garfield, Ryan Gosling, Viggo Mortensen. But Casey’s role was much easier than Andrew Garfield‘s role. Andrew should have won. His performance exceeds, by far, all the other performances. Mind you, I was stoked with the amazing ability to act of Ryan Gosling. in La La land. Ryan does not play the piano… never has… but for 4 months, 3 hours a day, he practiced his piano pieces and in the movie La La Land, he became a highly skillful pianist for those songs. He genuinely played all the pieces on his own and in one take. Today, he does not remember any of them (from an interview) but in the movie, Ryan is brilliant. I could not find the clip of Ryan playing (probably due to copyright issues) but here is the theme song, not played here by Ryan but you can appreciate Ryan’s talent… and this is only one of the songs.  Yet, Andrew’s role remains tops.
  • Best Director: Damien Chazelle for LA La LAND. Well, you know who my vote would go to. Mel Gibson is an amazing Director taking on very difficult movies and making them into masterpieces. That was Hacksaw Ridge.
  • Well, Hacksaw Ridge did win Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing. Both are well deserved.
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2 comments on “Hacksaw + Ridge
  1. LAP says:

    Great!!! Love thy Father :)

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