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Combat - WWII

Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Duration2h 19m
RatingsUK: 15, USA: R, Denmark: 15, 
Source of storyA documentary “The Conscientious Objector” by Terry Benedict
DirectorMel Gibson
Writers/ScriptRobert Schenkkan, Andrew Knight
StarringAndrew Garfield, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths, Teresa Palmer, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, 
RatingsIMDb: 8.1/10 by 490,282 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 84% by 281 reviewers. Review2view: 9/10.

Elevator Pitch: Desmod Doss is a 7th Day Adventist who joins the army as a consciensios objector, and refuses to carry a rifle. Hence by various means the army try to get rid of him, ending up with a court-martial where he is to be found guilty of insuborination. However, his father a WWI veteran gets a letter from his former commanding officer which is delivered ot the court and emphasises Doss’s right not to carry a firearm. Hence he is found not guilty and his presence tolerated. Before sighing up he had met a nurse, Dorothy and in time proposes to her. Because of his refusal to undertake rifle traing he is refused leave to go and marry her. Later he is employed as a medic attached to his unit when they are sent to Okinawa to assault Hacksaw Ridge, a Japanese strongpoint. A bloody confrontation takes place.

Content: No sex or nudity, some drinking and much smoking. Desmond as a boy fights with his brother and knocks him out with a brick. Later in flashback we see his father threating his mother with a revolver. He romances Dorothy after meeting her while taking his injured brother to hospital. After signing up he experiences almost continuous harassment because of his beliefs, but he does not waver. Later the unit climb onto Hacksaw Ridge and engage the enemy. The resulting battle in graphic and harrowing with many men being shot, and blown up. After they are forced to retreat Desmond remains on the battlefield, rescuing the wounded who have been left for dead.

A View: The film was nominated in virtually all categories at the Oscars and won in a couple of minor ones. It was up against Moonlight and LaLa Land. It is No 199 on the IMDb list of best films. After what seems to be a slow start it completely changes gear when the company goes to war, the carnage brilliantly, and distressingly presented. It is not quite a must see, but one of the most evocative presentations of a WWII battle ever screened.

This film is up there with other famous WWII films reviewed on this site, including: Dunkirk, Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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