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Hacksaw Ridge (2016) Review

If you are a soldier from the Allies during World War II, you will be tasked with different things, from fighting enemies to espionage. You will need always to carry your firearm so that when the enemy comes, you are ready to shoot.

But not Desmond Thomas Doss, a World War II soldier who saved many lives during the Battle of Okinawa and adamantly followed his doctrine of not firing a gun. While his friends and the other troops are busy killing the enemies, he's busy saving them.

Plot Overview

The movie begins with a young Desmond Doss, who gets into an altercation with his brother and nearly kills him. A Seventh-Day Adventist, Desmond changes his beliefs by strictly following the commandments.

A couple of years later, Desmond Doss brings an injured man to the hospital and meets Dorothy Schutte. They fall in love, and Doss tells Dorothy he is interested in doing medical work.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Doss enlisted in the United States Army as a combat medic. Meanwhile, he and Dorothy get engaged. During basic training, Doss excels in all physical activities but fails when he refuses to handle a rifle. He also does not want to train on Saturdays because of his religious practices. His commander, Sergeant Howell, and Captain Glover subject Doss to a psychiatric test, but the results indicate he does not have mental illness. One night, Doss was beaten by the other troops, but he refused to name his attackers.

Doss gets arrested for insubordination after failing to submit to the training involving guns. During his trial, Doss's father brings in a letter from his previous commander that the constitution protects his pacifism. The charges were dropped and allowed Doss to participate in their training. Dorothy and Doss get married soon after.

Doss eventually gets assigned to the 77th Infantry Division in the Pacific theatre. He participates in the Battle of Okinawa and traverses a deadly cliff called the Hacksaw Ridge. The harsh Japanese defenses brutally killed or psychologically impacted all other troops before them. The fighting ensues, and many of their forces are wounded and left behind. Doss makes an incredible sacrifice to help the wounded receive medical attention and assist their escape.


Hacksaw Ridge is a star-studded film that features the incredible talents of Andrew Garfield, Teresa Palmer, Sam Worthington, Vince Vaughn, Hugo Weaving, and many more. This is a film directed by the controversial Mel Gibson.

You cannot deny that Mel Gibson's take on the incredible life of Desmond Doss is tainted with some historical inaccuracies, like his other previous film, Braveheart. It is a good cinematic experience that enhances the enjoyment but sacrifices history.

The film has a very good first and second acts, but the third act suffered. I have no problem putting in cinematic enhancements, but how it was shown here is just a tad too much. If Mel Gibson stuck to the accurate story of Desmond Doss, it would still be entertaining.

A good 3 out of 5 stars.

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