Hacksaw Ridge

So I was actually planning to watch Jack Reacher, but after being led to walk up early to the cinema area before booking my tix I realised Hacksaw Ridge had just come out and the last session was minutes away. I did not regret this last minute change of plans 🙂

Sensitive content (still working out how to title this part):

  • Extreme graphic scenes of blood and gore
  • Some questionable language
  • One innocent short suggestive sex scene

Redeeming the Arts
Spoiler Alert 

If you liked Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ, you would probably like Hacksaw Ridge as well. The film begins with a quote from the last few verses of Isaiah 40. From both trailer and this opening verse it becomes quite clear the film will be founded in very clear Christian values. And it does not disappoint. Here are some of my favourite parts:

1. Sexual Purity

It is very hard nowadays to come across any Hollywood film where love isn’t immediately followed by sex. Hacksaw Ridge beautifully outlays the struggle of Desmond Doss (protagonist) and Dorothy (his love interest) as they go through the process of courtship, possible loss (as Desmond comes near sentence to jail time) and then finally marriage AND THEN sex. The scene beautifully cuts firstly to Desmond’s ring, and then his wife approaching him in the sanctity of their shared room before falling out of view of the camera. I have to say it again… a very rare sight to see in a Hollywood film. Thank you Mel.

2. Personal Commitments

I’m sure I can hear the haters yelling at this one. “This is why I don’t wanna be a Christian. His religion caused so much grief to everyone!” Basically, Desmond makes a personal decision to never touch a firearm, and yet still joins the army as a Medic with the understanding that Medics do not need to carry weapons (as he explains that this is what he was told before signing up). He is sorely proven wrong during boot camp…

The film quite tactfully unfolds this (if we pay attention) as Desmond’s own personal commitment and not necessarily a command from scripture. Though the 6th commandment is mentioned through the movie, its important to note that the 6th commandment does not speak of “not bearing arms.” This is Desmond’s own decision which, as we find out later in the movie, was a result of him coming very close to taking the life of his father during an altercation with his mother some time before.

I very much like this distinction as it is very often something that is mixed together when people judge “the Church”. Desmond did not need to make this rule for himself in order to “comply to scripture” but he chose to anyway because he knew himself. Sometimes churches may recommend Christians behave in a certain way to better be obedient to Christ command, but then we mix these “recommended rules” with religion itself and then yell at how illogical it all is.

3. Endurance & Prayer

One of the clutching moments in the film was when Desmond decided to stay back on Hacksaw Ridge and continue to rescue his fellow soldiers while the navy continued to shell the area (I still don’t get how he didn’t get hit by any of those bombs, besides an act of Providence!). After lowering each body down the ridge, using only a rope and his own physical strength, he would pray “One more Lord! Help me get one more…!”

It was a beautiful example of what endurance and prayer can achieve. In a world growing faster and faster, it is almost natural to expect many desires to be quenched instantly at a few clicks or button taps or swipes on a screen. Yet, there are still things that can only truely be achieved through consistent endurance. What assists us in those times? Coming to the Lord in prayer (Phil. 4:6). Like waiting for the right life partner, pursuing careers, learning a new skill, developing that six pack! Its great to know that while we do all we can in the natural, God is also there to help with the rest (1 Cor. 3:6).

There are so many more wonderful ideas and concepts in this movie. I hope these few points help spark more interesting conversations with you family and friends. Any thoughts you liked (or even disliked!) please let me know in the comments below.

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4 thoughts on “Hacksaw Ridge

  1. This is absolutely one of the best movies I’ve came across in the past few years! It teaches good, solid and testable values. I like how you’ve summarised these values in three main points, and if I were to add onto it I would say:

    The best way is God’s way
    Viewers might have the illusion that Doss fell in love with Dorothy for her physical beauty. That’s how the society thinks. And it thinks out loud through it’s mass media in various ways. However, it’s far more than that. It’s about doing the right thing at the right place in the right time. When God saved us He also called us. 2Tim1:9 “Who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. ” Before Dorothy met her love, she was already a nurse and working at a local hospital. Knowing who we are, what we are passionate about and then turning that passion into tangible works that can benefits others is the key. It is about two WHOLE persons coming together under the covenant of marriage and becoming ONE, not about two HALF pieces. Dorothy had discovered that. As later in the movie, we see how her passion perfectly overlapped with Doss’, and how two complete individuals became one flesh.

    God has the best advice on Marriage as He created it. He said in Ephesians 5:22- “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church.” You don’t really learn how to submit when you agree with someone. You leant it when you disagree, perhaps strongly disagree with someone. The movie shows how Dorothy strongly disagrees with Doss’ idea of not carrying a gun but still submits to his decision. What a WOW moment! It is not “right and wrong” that matters, but “life and death” for your relationships. I am so thankful our single ladies can learn this through first submit to our paster. Man, it is not easy!!

    A man of Character
    I was amazed by and attracted to this man of Character throughout the movie. When Doss stands on his value (a biblical value) and doesn’t change in spite of all sorts of external pressures, I see the likeness of God on his face. Aren’t you glad God never changes? I am. Thank God He is perfect and doesn’t change. Even it seemed like he lost for a little while, but he won eventually. This verse was echoing in my ears “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” when Doss was been lowering down from the ridge as the last scene of the movie.

    This is such a good reminder. It makes me think. What are the values and beliefs we stand for? Are we going to change to please others? Or, are we going to be unchangeable to please God? What’s interesting is, when we don’t lower our standard and don’t change to please God first, God would always make sure we have people’s approvals at the end. Just as how Doss has earned his fellows’ approvals eventually…

    Thank you for opening the gate for this meaningful discussion! I haven’t voluntarily written a movie review for ages!!

    Like

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