DVD: Hacksaw Ridge — ‘a powerful, visceral film’
Directed by Mel Gibson, 2016
It was one of the most hellish battles of the second world war, and Desmond Doss went into it without a gun.
Mel Gibson’s film tells the story of Doss’s remarkable role in the Battle of Okinawa, where, as an army medic, he rescued dozens of wounded soldiers and winched them down a cliff.
This being a Mel Gibson movie, the battle becomes a ballet of immolation and slaughter, death and spilt intestines in slow motion, brilliantly filmed if often rather over-aestheticised.
However, a goodly chunk of Hacksaw Ridge is spent on Doss’s backstory — his childhood, his alcoholic father, his Seventh Day Adventist faith, his decision to become what he called a “conscientious cooperator” and carry only a Bible into battle.
A powerful, visceral film.