Hacksaw Ridge is not a film for the feint-hearted. Right away the opening scenes portray the horror of war, and the emotional journey is only beginning as the audience is led through the story of war-hero Desmond Doss. One of the great feats of storytelling from Mel Gibson (director) and Andrew Garfield (leading role, Desmond Doss) is to lead the audience along Doss’ journey with a feeling of having experienced the journey as Doss, and experiencing the wide range of emotions endured by this heroic character along his journey.
Neither war itself nor violence are glorified in the film, yet they also not derided. The elements of conflict that draw the storyteller – the heroism of overcoming adversity, the bonding of soldiers, and the brave resolve on which soldiers must rely to perform their duty amidst such chaos and terror – these elements are all present, but they placed alongside the horror, the madness and the terror of war, and used to draw in the audience for Doss’ journey. The lasting psychological impact for those who survive conflict is well told by Hugo Weaving’s portrayal of Doss’ father, whose lines could serve as a mouthpiece for many veterans.