Hacksaw Ridge by Mel Gibson Essay

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Hacksaw Ridge is a 2016 war film that was directed by Mel Gibson, and that starred Andrew Garfield as the protagonist, Desmond Doss, who served in the Battle of Okinawa during World War Two. Doss was a combat medic who, because of his religious beliefs, refused to carry a weapon. Garfield and Gibson were nominated for Academy Awards for the film. Other stars were Sam Worthington, Vince Vaughan, Hugo Weaving, Luke Bracey, Ryan Corr, Teresa Palmer and Rachel Griffiths. The story focused on Doss' experiences in the military and the war, but also on his upbringing and life experiences at home. Despite the fact that Gibson has earned himself considerable controversy in Hollywood and among the general public, the film was received well, and without any of this baggage.

The combat scenes were depicted using a lot of slow motion, sounds that came and went, and the speeds of the action were altered at times during the sequences. These techniques are in some ways akin to things from Asian action movies, but that was never really the impression given. It was clear that the way the war scenes were depicted was to highlight for the audience to brutality and cruelty of war. There was considerable gore but it never felt gratuitous, but rather an accurate depiction of the horrors of war. This treatment of the war scenes fits with the overall story, as Doss was a medic and a pacifist. In that role he had to deal with soldiers with varying injuries, and his personal views were really to be appalled at the violence he was witnessing.

The enemy is characterized primarily through the lenses of the protagonist (American) soldiers. There was little particular attempt to give Japanese soldiers much character or personality. There was a scene where Doss sent a Japanese soldier down to the beach, and the soldiers down on the beach were dismissive about the fate of that Japanese soldier.
But even Doss, despite trying to rescue the Japanese soldier, was acting more on autopilot at that point and didn't give him any more humanity than at any other point in the movie. The Japanese soldiers are definitely not given near the same sympathy as the Americans.

The film primarily focused on the cultural differences between Doss and the others. The soldiers were almost entirely European-descended Americans. The main cultural difference presented was with Doss' Seventh Day Adventist beliefs, which made him stand out from the crowd. The ideal platoon was clearly presented as one where regardless of the background of the soldier that they all put their own selves into the background to become a cohesive unit, individual personalities and cultures unimportant relative to the whole. The fact that Doss was unwilling to conform was a key theme that ran throughout the movie, along with the varying degrees to which the other soldiers were willing to accept him for this.

Doss was depicted as basically the singular hero of the story. The primary conflicts were between him and the other soldiers in the platoon, and the conflict between his beliefs and his reality, in particular the way that his beliefs prevailed. Doss was pressured strongly to fight, and the implication was that any other pacifists were treated poorly – but the point was also made that he signed up, where maybe other pacifists simply did not sign up for the war effort. Doss never accepted war as necessary at any point, and his disdain for violence not only remained throughout the film but was incorporated into the way….....

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