“With the world so set on tearing itself apart, it don’t seem like such a bad thing to me to want to put a little bit of it back together.”Desmond Doss
The story of Desmond Doss, a pacifist who enlisted in the US army as a medic during World War II, ironically brings with it some of the goriest depictions of battle injuries to date. The film wisely lingers on Desmond’s life before the war for long enough that we understand both his sense of morality and his acceptance that others see him as unusual. Andrew Garfield deserves praise not for the awkward charm he displays, but the troubled conviction beneath it. We see the harshness of training through his eyes, although it is clear the senior officers’ hostility is borne of confusion and protectiveness over the other men in their charge. Once his unit ships out, the initial assault on Hacksaw Ridge is powerfully filmed but less personal and less compelling. That changes dramatically in the aftermath as we see Doss’ heroic bravery, scouring the battlefield under artillery fire and evading enemy patrols, for which he became the first man to earn a US Medal of Honor without firing a shot.