When the order came to retreat, one man stayed.
Hacksaw Ridge is the extraordinary true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun.
Private Doss was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon, as he believed that while the war was justified, killing was nevertheless wrong. As an army medic, he single-handedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers and was wounded by a grenade and hit by snipers. Doss was the first conscientious objector awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour.
Hacksaw Ridge marks the return as a director of Mel Gibson. With a previous slate of Braveheart (for which he won two Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Film), The Passion Of The Christ and Apocalypto, Gibson's record as a director is pretty impressive and one that matches anyone.
We were intrigued to learn why Gibson was attracted to the project and make a return to the director’s chair.
"When I heard the story of Desmond Doss, the first conscientious objector in the U.S. to receive the Medal of Honour, I was astounded by the extent of his sacrifice. Here was a man who, in the most pure, selfless, and almost unconscious way, repeatedly risked his own life to save the lives of his brothers. Desmond was a completely ordinary man who did extraordinary things.
When WWII broke out and young men raced to enlist, Desmond faced a predicament – he was as eager to serve as any man, but violence conflicted with his religious and moral beliefs. He refused to even touch a weapon. Desmond underwent intense persecution for his refusal to waver in his conviction, then went on to enter the hell of war armed with nothing more than his faith, and emerge one of the greatest war heroes of all time.
Desmond Doss was singular. There are few, if any people, who could or would replicate his actions. The humility he maintained in discussing his heroics is a testament to the mettle of the man. In fact, Desmond was asked permission for years to adapt his story into a film, and repeatedly declined, insisting that the “real heroes” were the ones in the ground. In a cinematic landscape overrun with fictional “superheroes,” I thought it was time to celebrate a real one.
Andrew Garfield truly inhabited the character and captured the essence of Desmond Doss, and the supporting cast and crew delivered in spades. I’m grateful for everyone’s contributions. It was a privilege and an honour to tell this story."
Gibson saw in Hacksaw Ridge a chance to bring into the light a forgotten hero – and he was drawn to Desmond Doss as man who determined to find a way to live by the values that meant everything to him, even when they seemed in conflict with the whole world around him.
Rolling Stone Magazine has declared that the film 'is not to be missed' and you won't have to wait too long.
Hacksaw Ridge opens at Showcase on January 27