Hacksaw Ridge – Movie Review

By Mia Blackburn

Conscientious Objector: Desmond Doss 

Hacksaw Ridge is a true story based on a medic during World War II, who was stationed in Okinawa. The medic Desmond Doss refused to carry a gun because he believed it was wrong. He wanted to save lives and not take them, unlike the other soldiers. He was considered to be a conscientious objector, which is someone who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service. The movie follows the event of Desmond of how he ended up deciding he wanted to join the Army and his training and the events of the battle at Okinawa where he saved 75 people. The movie made in 2016 was based on the documentary film The Conscientious Objector from 2004. The documentary is about Desmond and how he became the first conscientious objector to win the Medal of Honor in World War II. 

The movie starts with Desmond when he was a little boy and shows him and his brother getting into a fight and he hurts his brother very seriously. After that Desmond wouldn’t condone any violence. Years later while the war was occurring he was in his home town and he helped save a boy’s life. He took him to the hospital and there he met his future wife. After his brother joined the military Desmond knew he couldn’t sit at home while other men were out fighting he needed to help in some way. So Desmond enlisted, training wasn’t just hard physically but also mentally and emotionally because more solid officers had trouble accepting that he didn’t want to carry a weapon. This was very uncommon because how are you supposed to defend yourself in the middle of a war? He was bullied for his beliefs and was teased by the other soldiers in his platoon. Partway through his training Desmond was put under arrest because he failed to follow orders because a leader told him to pick up a gun and he demanded. After the trial, Desmond was allowed to go to war without a weapon to defend himself as a medic. He and his platoon were sent to Okinawans and they had plans to try to take over Hacksaw. Once they got up on Hacksaw they made some progress but were forced to retreat. Everyone retreated except for Desmond. He stayed there all night, saved injured people, and lowered them down from the

ridge. When morning came he lost the cover of night and the Japanese troops came out to make sure that if people were still up on the ridge, they would kill them. Desomond found two more people and was being chased to the edge of the ridge, they made it to safety and Desomnd saved 75 people by himself. 

Based on reports and articles the movie was mostly accurate to the actual event. However one of the crucial characters named Smitty wasn’t a real person, but the way he acted towards Desmond was a representation of what real soldiers did. Throughout Desmond’s training, he was teased and ridiculed for not wanting to pick up a weapon. One part of the movie that sticks out and is real is when Desmond is up alone on the ridge at night saving people he would pray to god asking, “Please god, help me save one more”. At the end of the movie, it shows clips of the real Desmond Doss in an interview saying how he just kept asking god to help him save some more people. His faith that was presented in the movie was a real representation of how his faith helped him survive and save 75 men. Doss was a Seventh-day Adventist, he had strong beliefs that he wasn’t going to compromise for the army. 

Overall Hacksaw Ridge is a great way to learn what happened in our history. Some people might not want to watch the documentary The Conscientious Objector (2004), because they might think it’s boring and it’s not an interesting way to learn about the past. However, due to the fact, the movie is accurate and based on the documentary it is a fun and intriguing way to learn about World War II. The film is full of engaging parts that will keep you on your toes and interested in the film.

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