Why Hacksaw Ridge Is One of My New Favourite Movies
Image courtesy of Elevation Pictures
I'm very grateful to have been given the chance to see an advance screening of this new WWII drama. I knew the story of Desmond Doss, I had heard interviews and watched the trailers, and I was, admittedly, determined to appreciate this film. At the same time, I was a little apprehensive, because the subject matter is so important, it would have been tragic if the movie was not an "A" grade movie. I'm happy to say, this movie is an A+.
Here are five reasons why Hacksaw Ridge is now one of my new favourite movies of all time...
1. Hacksaw Ridge Entertains. Hacksaw Ridge excels as a work of entertainment, as it should. This is, after all, the entertainment industry and for a movie to succeed, it needs to be entertaining along with whatever else it hopes to accomplish. This movie takes its time to tell a good story, inviting us in to a beautiful world of principle and priorities, a painful world of family tension, and the horrible world of war.
2. Hacksaw Ridge Inspires. Whether someone is a Christian or not, this movie points the way toward the power of living according to our convictions, especially when our convictions are rooted in our love of God and the people God loves.
3. Hacksaw Ridge tells the truth.
We humans are designed to be encouraged, edified, and motivated to move forward in life by more than just lofty ideas - we need examples. We always benefit when ideas and theories materialize in the world through a life well lived. We need the word to become flesh. This story of Private Desmond Doss is true and this is the kind of true tale we require to help us wrap our minds and hearts around some pretty lofty ideals like peace, nonviolence, bravery, enemy-love, and self-sacrifice. The snippets of real life interviews with some of the main characters at the end of the film are pure gold. They remind us all that, amazing as this story is, it is rooted in real life and was lived out by real people.
4. I needed a good cry.
I haven't cried like this before in a war movie (and I've seen a lot of war movies). I cried because war is sad, yes. I also cried because I was so grateful to feel like I was getting to know a great man through the film, and was overwhelmed with a sense of privilege. I cried because I felt filled with gratitude, that finally this perspective was being portrayed. I cried because the violence of war was contrasted with one man's high value of human life, which kept pulling me out of the horrific violence to think, to evaluate, to wake up again and again to the real sorrow of war. Image-bearers of God, having lost their way, destroying one another.
5. Hacksaw Ridge is a conversation we need to have.
Hacksaw Ridge is a conversation in a can: just open and serve. This is a relevant conversation for everyone, Christian and non-Christian. What did Jesus actually teach? What do his teachings actually mean? What is the overall implications of the story of the Bible, start to finish? What does it mean to be a peacemaker, more than *not* being violent? How can pacifists be known, not just for not doing something bad, but for doing so much good?
I hope you see this movie, and really see it. Then I hope you think, ponder, pray, and talk about it. For us today, the implications may be less about "how should Christ-followers behave during wartime" and more about "how should Christ-followers behave. Period." Because "love your enemy" takes practice.