The world is so messed up, people are so hell bent on killing each other for many different reasons, that it makes sense to try and do some good, if only the sake of goodness. That goodness may be called faith in God, or in loyalty, science, or one might simply be tired of the carnage and decide to leave the butchering for others, and to practice his fight in a non violent way.
Whatever you do, do it with your heart, committing yourself and none other, not imposing your choice on others, and that is an exercise of freedom, legitimate cause it does not mean imposing the consequences of your freedom on others.
Hacksaw Ridge is a movie that touched my heart on so many levels, that I ought to thank Mr. Gibson and all those involved for the experience, and most important, I must offer a prayer to the memory of Desmond Doss for the way he chose to practice his freedom of faith and still serve his country, and humanity.
I would not make his choices, but he showed that options are possible and one does not exclude the other.
World War I is a historical event that is still confusing for many people. When you get back to its early events you realize that it started as nationalist movements and old imperial alliances clashed and created a perfect storm. You did not fight a great evil, but rather re-organized the map of the world along colonial powers, and saw the rise of new political alternatives.
World War II has a different aura, cause it was a war against annihilation, a war that nations fought to survive against a wave of totalitarian rule that believed that certain classes of people were not fit for existence, that some countries should serve others not as colonies, but because they were inherently inferior. Later, as the war raged on, it became a war against evil embodied in a person and group of people with an ideology.
It was a war worth fighting, people were proud of fighting it.
Since then, wars seem spurious. Wicked attempts of domination, with no cause so unanimously worthy.
Hacksaw Ridge goes to that war whose merit is somewhat indisputable, and picks up a very peculiar character, someone who decides to not touch a weapon on the grounds of his religious beliefs, and who still wants to serve as a medic. Considering that medics had to undergo basic military training and be able to defend themselves in the battlefield, he had to fight for his right to serve, and got it with a caveat, that his fellow soldiers would not rescue or defend him.
He fought with faith on his sleeve and did what he felt was needed: he rescued soldiers from the battlefield, even a couple of “japs”. He fought for the souls of men, for the sons, the fathers, the husbands, the brothers, the human beings. And this weaponless soldier was a humble man, good humored, fond of joking, loving of life, brilliantly interpreted by Andy Garfield.
Mel Gibson has had many personal issues and he has paid for them. He is, however, a very good director (and actor), and it is hypocritical of me to suddenly dislike everything he has ever done because of things that surfaced later. I don´t feel guilty. He is good and deserve credits for what he does right, he deserves reproach for the wrong he does, and each in the proper ward, public and private, artistic and judicial.
Gibson´s work as director shows a very sensitive man, as full of contradiction as anyone else, trying to balance his views on faith, ethics and morals with the world and the person he actually is, when push comes to blows, and he has to deal with his failures.
And in spite of all his success, it seems that his failures – his addiction – are more prominent. At least he is normal. No one deals easily with failure and unhappiness.
Hacksaw Ridge is a beam of hope in the midst of despair. Isn´t easy on the violence, but does not glamorize it either, heroes are not to be totally admired except for their humanity, and it does not have any sense of grandeur. Life is big on its small things.
So, thanks Mr. Gibson, keep on doing your movies, cause I´ve liked most of your work so far, and think they are keepers, movies that are worth seeing more than once. Hope you find your peace, hope you take the best out the actors and actresses who work with you. For the benefit of us all, the audience.