“Have you ever looked into a goat’s eyes?”
“Good. That would be unnatural.”
Hacksaw Ridge is the true story of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector in the second world war who refused to touch a gun. Andrew Garfield proves he is more than just a previous incarnation of Spiderman in this film with his incredible portrayal of Doss.
It starts by seeing his father, Tom Doss, in the battlefield and then at his friends and fellow soldiers graves. Obviously scarred by the war he became an aggressive alcoholic attacking his wife and children. He starts out as an unlikeable character and ends up being a person you sympathise with watching his two sons go to war.
After Desmond almost kills his brother as a child the commandment “thou shalt not kill” resonates with him. Then as an adult he almost shoots his father whilst trying to defend his mother and decides to never touch a gun again. This obviously does not go down well with his fellow recruits and Sergeant Howell, played amazingly by Vince Vaughan, the master of dead pan one liners in this film. Desmond Doss joins to be a combat medic and save lives rather than take them, his unit and superiors feel he is a coward. He suffers through the worst chores and severe beatings but refuses to quit and almost goes to jail until his father uses some old contacts to save him. He is allowed to go into war as a combat medic, they go to to Hacksaw Ridge, a large cliff face to fight the Japanese. The following sequences are gory and hard to watch. They aren’t gory for the sake of it but to show a realistic portrayal of war. After initial success the Japanese lead a serious counter attack killing many of the unit forcing them to retreat. Desmond decides to stay behind and we see an amazing sequence of determination and persistence, as Desmond saves his fellow soldiers one at a time leading them to safety (by throwing them off the edge of a cliff). He manages to evade the Japanese soldiers and even helps a wounded enemy. “Just one more” he prays to God as exhaustion takes over.
In total it is revealed he saved 75 men and wins over all those who beat him and called him a coward. I would recommend this film to anyone, it will always be relevant.
The film ends by interviewing the real Desmond Doss who sadly died in 2006.
*Part of the plot also focuses on the love story between Desmond and Dorothy, a nurse. Although it was a nice story and she was a likeable character I personally was more interested his personal story as a soldier and was almost frustrated when the story sidetracked to their blossoming romance.