I just saw a rough cut of Hacksaw Ridge, Mel Gibson’s new movie coming out in November.
It’s the true story of Desmond Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist Christian who joined the US military in WWII, but refused to carry a weapon and never fired a bullet. He became a medic who “saved lives instead of taking lives.” He suffered persecution within the system and from his fellow soldiers, but ended up saving 75 of his company’s men in the brutal bloodbath of Hacksaw Ridge on Okinawa.
I will blog more about it when the release comes, but suffice it to say this is the best war movie about Christianity in a time of war since To End All Wars (Go ahead, mock me, accuse me of self-promotion, but it’s true, regardless of who wrote it. And it was a true story too).
Mel Gibson’s Redemption
He’s done it again. Mel Gibson has crafted one of the most inspiring movies for this generation.
If you want to see Christianity respected in a movie, then you will definitely want to see Hacksaw Ridge.
If you want to see Christianity lived out in grace and sacrifice, then you will definitely want to see Hacksaw Ridge.
If you want to be inspired to be a better person, then you will definitely want to see Hacksaw Ridge.
And here is what is amazing… Gibson wants to do as much as he can to appeal to the Christian audience, without compromising his artistic vision. Something you didn’t see Aronofsky or Ridley Scott give a damn about. Gibson cut out all F-bombs and “taking of the Lord’s name in vain,” in response to Christian concerns. (Now, I happen to think that those demands by the Christian audience are actually unbiblical, — see here for Biblical proof — but they are nevertheless demands of the demographic, and Gibson respects his audience.).
Be aware though, this is about love and sacrifice in a world of great pain and suffering, so there is a lot of the violence, blood and gore of war to illustrate that redemptive power. Fortunately, Christian viewers are less consistent in their acceptance of movie violence, and don’t have as big a problem with it. 🙂
I am not a pacifist. In fact, I am convinced that Desmond’s pacifism is thoroughly and utterly unbiblical (I will address this in later posts). BUT his actions were thoroughly heroic and utterly Biblical. In that sense, Desmond wasn’t really a pure pacifist, because he supported and aided those who did kill others.
But his heroism was in sacrificing himself to rescue others, even after they had rejected him.
A heroism that is both inspiring and convicting. I still get chills just writing about it.
And that is what makes the story so fascinating. Gibson’s genius storytelling is his ability to wrestle with a morally complex issue and shake out existential truth from the real world clash of opposing ideas.
Because of its respect for both sides of opposing viewpoints, both veterans of war AND haters of war will love this movie. It will force both pacifists and just war advocates to re-evaluate their own beliefs, and hopefully inspire civil conversation (As Desmond would have wanted).
It does what good art should do, inspire more thought and conversation about transcendent truths like courage, sacrifice, standing up to evil, loving your neighbor, loving your enemy, and of course, the most important of all: loving God.
To End All Wars can be bought or rented from Amazon here.