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Movie with a Message: Hacksaw Ridge

Updated: Jun 8, 2018

Hello gorgeous people, hope you have been having an awesome week so far. It's been a little while since the movies page has been updated, that is because we are always working to bring you great content. Today's movie of focus is Hacksaw Ridge, a Mel Gibson masterpiece that was released back in the fall of 2016. The film is the winner of two academy awards. The depiction of Desmond Doss by Andrew Garfield is incredible. I felt so drawn to this movie and will like to share with you why it's a Movie with a Message.

This movie was set around 1945, is a story about a young man (Desmond Doss) who wanted to serve his country during the war, without the use of a weapon. During that time, Desmond and his brother grew up in an abusive home. With their dad being a heavy drinker, he always picked fights with their mother and hit her from time to time. The movie begins with the two little boys getting up to no good and eventually getting into a fight with each other. They fought, while their father watched. Before their mother could come to break up the fight, Desmond picked up a brick and hit his brother. The brother lost consciousness, and his parents came to grab him, hoping that he will be okay. Desmond felt so sorry; that he went on to look at the Ten Commandments on the wall of their house, focusing on the part that says “you shall not commit murder.”

So that stuck with him, even as he grew older. When he was a lot older, he met and fell in love with a nurse named Dorothy. He loved what she did, and had a dream of becoming a medic. He wanted her to teach him about her job, and then she offered him a book where he could learn all that he needed to. During that time, it wasn't unusual for young men to enlist. since he wanted to serve his country, he enlisted to join the United States Army. On getting to the boot camp program, he was ridiculed because of his size and got picked on him because he was also Mr. Goody two shoes.

Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For Our Weapons of Warfare are not carnal, but they are mighty in God2 Corinthians 10:4

Desmond Doss wanted to serve in the military, but he wanted to do so without carrying a weapon, a firearm to be precise. They all laughed at him, wondering what kind of a nut case he was. You mean you want to go on the battlefield without carrying a rifle? How will you survive? Those were his teammate’s thoughts. They then tried everything in their power to get rid of him, but he refused to leave. The captain one day, speaking with the sergeant said, “If he throws God at you, throw hell at him.” referring to Desmond's unwillingness to carry a weapon. One of Desmond’s main reasons for not carrying a rifle was that he believed God didn’t want him to do so. His teammates beat him up, to get him to retaliate or to quit, but he paid them no mind. He refused to stop regardless of the turmoil he faced. Because of his refusal to carry a rifle, they threatened to throw him in military prison; he still refused to bend to their rules even at the expense of his freedom and marriage.

Desmond's wife, saying bye to him as he left for war

He got thrown into jail like they did Joseph, remember when Joseph refused to sleep with Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39 and she framed him for rape? or when Daniel and the three Hebrew boys refused to bow down to the image erected by king Nebuchadnezzar, they got thrown into the lake of fire (Daniel 3). As believers, there will be times in our lives when our belief in God will be tested. What will you do when that opportunity comes to stand up for what is right or to stand up for God? I hope we choose to do the right thing. Desmond Doss felt like his values were under attack. He eventually got a hearing and pleaded not guilty while they wanted him to enter into a plea deal, by pleading guilty. Thank God for an old friendship his father had with someone in power in Washington, Desmond was able to exercise his rights not to carry a rifle, so they withdrew their charges against him.

The soldiers eventually went to war (Battle of Okinawa, against the Japanese) and Desmond was going to serve as a medic on the battleground. He did that without carrying a weapon, although there were times were his teammates had to defend him with a gun. They pulled together as a team and looked out for each other. He shared with one of his teammates why he didn't want to carry a weapon. His father was abusive to him, his sibling and mother growing up. One day the mother and father were in a fight, and he pulled a gun on her, Desmond then ran to defend his mother, he took the gun from his dad and pointed it at him. The mother, who already broke down, was crying for him not to shoot his dad, although he said he killed his dad in his mind, he didn't pull the trigger. He then made a promise to God that he will never touch a weapon again.

One of his friends died in combat, one who saved his life and he was so distraught. Crying out to God, he asked Him, “What do you want from me? I can’t hear you!” Then he began hearing people scream “help me!help me!” He ran back to the place of war to see who he could save. He found his purpose in that moment. It was as if God answered his heart’s cry when he heard their voices. He went back to rescue the helpless even after most soldiers had left. You know, just as Jesus illustrates in the Bible, about the good shepherd who leaves the 99 behind in search of the one. Desmond Doss played the role of the good shepherd that day. He single-handedly carried the hurt men, tied them up in a rope and let them down, to a place of safety where the other soldiers could find them. He kept letting them down, while the other soldiers transported them to safety. Desmond risked his life to save others.

When you give up your life for a greater good, the reward would be liberating. He even had to play dead, to get the enemy off his trail. His drive made their sergeant go to their captain to request men to go back up there to see if there were any survivors. The captain refused, saying it was too risky, and that the men will lose their lives. They didn’t know Desmond had already beaten them to the task. He came across an enemy who was fighting for his life, and he rescued him, talk about the Good Samaritan! He scouted for men day and night, consoling everyone he came across who was alive. He was doing what God has called him to do at that moment. Each time he asked God, for one more person to be found alive and he saw another person alive! God is awesome! He hears our prayers and desires, especially if they are in line with His.

There were a lot of survivors because of Desmond Doss; they were all surprised that he could rescue people the way he did. He even saved the Sergeant who initially gave him a lot of grief about not wanting to carry a firearm as a weapon.

He eventually made it down alive; he did not even realize the gravity of the work he had done. Without a weapon, he defended his country by saving the lives of his fellow soldiers. He was the definition of a team player even if they didn't see him as such in the beginning. His sergeant came up to him apologizing, saying "all I saw was a skinny kid, I didn't know who you were, you have done so much more than any man with service to this country, I've never been so wrong about someone in my life, and I hope that one day you can forgive me." He went on to say, “most of these men don’t believe the same way that you do, but they believe so much in the way that you believe. And they want a piece of it.”

The amazing Andrew Garfield (Desmond Doss)

The next time they wanted to go back up there to fight, they all waited for him to finish praying before they commenced the war! I could do a praise dance right here! When you take God at His word, and you dare to stand up for Him, people will want to do right by you. The enemy knows how powerful Christianity can be, that is why he works tirelessly to stifle the growth of Christians, the enemy is very intentional. Desmond eventually got hit, and all he cried out for was his bible, the soldiers carrying him, stopped and went back to get it for him. His bible was his lifeline, as it should be for all Christians. That is a life lesson here. As Christians, our faith is always challenged, because we are always surrounded by people who probably don't believe in the things we do. Instead of cowering down, stand up for what you believe, and as the Bible says "many will fear and put their trust in Him." I am also guilty of this because I tend to shy away from what my belief system is, because I may not want to offend anyone, but it is not meant to be so. How then will people see me differently? The whole world stands for what they believe in, so why shouldn't we as believers do the same?

There are so many life lessons in this movie; the major one is for us to stand up for what we believe in, no matter how tough it might seem. In the end, when people see that you refuse to back down, they too will begin to believe in what you do. I am glad Mel Gibson, worked so hard on this piece to bring us this incredible story. And oh did I mention that this is a real-life story? That even makes the story more amazing.

Desmond Doss rescued 75 men in total; he was the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor, America’s highest award of courage under fire. He was married to his wife Dorothy until her death in 1991. About how he saved those guys, he remained humble, giving all the credit to God. During an interview at the end of the movie, the captain recalled with tears in his eyes, how he told Desmond that he wasn’t going to be on his team if he didn’t carry a rifle. And the irony of it was that he ended up saving his life.

The real Desmond Doss and his wife (image gotten from the movie)

Desmond Doss passed away in March 2006 at the age of 87. He indeed left a great legacy behind. I hope we can do something different, to impact lives just as he did. This was one of my favorite movies to talk about in this segment, please watch this movie to find out more about it, and why it is a Movie with a Message.

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