Hacksaw Ridge: Life Lessons And Forgiving Mel Gibson

Hacksaw Ridge is a great film that teaches some important life lessons. As expected, we can’t talk about Hacksaw Ridge without talking about its director: Mel Gibson. If you don’t remember, more than a decade ago he made a couple of racist and antisemitic remarks that didn’t go unnoticed. After that incident, Hollywood basically shunned him. Mel Gibson was no longer a hot commodity, everybody was trying not to work with him to avoid controversy.

Should Mel Gibson Be Forgiven?

Hacksaw Ridge was both a critical and a financial success. What does that mean? Did Hollywood decide to forgive Mel Gibson? What can we take from Mel’s comeback?

First things first, Mel Gibson is talented. His career never depended on his likeability, although it helps. Before Hacksaw Ridge, he directed other films such as The Passion of the Christ, Apocalypto and Braveheart. Having said that, Mel Gibson knows his place as a consummated director.

He’s talented, that’s a fact. However, he’s not above judgement. No matter how many great things you’ve done, people will always remember you at your worst. That’s what happened to Mel, what he said couldn’t be unsaid. Yes, he did try to apologize but people were not willing to hear his apology, let alone accept it.

Blackballing Mel Gibson for more than a decade, was that enough? I don’t know, but I’m sure it was enough for Mel Gibson to think about his actions. Hacksaw Ridge marks Mel Gibson comeback as an in-demand director, but his past controversies will always follow him.

The Story Behind Hacksaw Ridge

Desmond T. Doss was indeed a real person. However, the true story is even crazier than the film. Apparently, he saved way more people in real life. Mel Gibson had to “tone it down” to make things more believable. Usually, it’s the opposite but I guess Hacksaw Ridge is the exception to rule.

Can we take a second to talk about Andrew Garfield? He was excellent as Desmond T. Doss. What an amazing performance!

andrew garfield hacksaw ridge

The film brings us the amazing story of Desmond T. Doss. A World War II American Army Medic that served during the “Battle of Okinawa” without firing a single shot. He simply refused to carry or use a firearm or weapons of any kind. Pretty amazing isn’t it? His story is unbelievable to say the least. Not only Desmond went to war unarmed but he also helped dozens of wounded soldiers to escape death.

Hacksaw Ridge (Highlights)

Seriously, if you haven’t watched Hacksaw Ridge… What are you waiting for? Trust me, whether you like Mel Gibson as human being or not, you can’t deny his talent. This man is a great storyteller and Hacksaw Ridge is one of his finest works as a director. Why? It’s so difficult to condense in one short sentence all the reasons why the film was so good. Therefore, let me break it down to you in the following paragraphs.

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of war films. However, Hacksaw Ridge is different. Why? Because it didn’t feel like a History lesson while I was watching it. Yes, the battlefield scenes are insanely realistic, but the story is really the fuel that keeps the machine going. You think you are in for the brutal action scenes, but it’s actually the story that keeps you “glued” to the screen. There were so many amazing characters and compelling performances in the film. Everyone was on top of their game.

The Love Story

First of all, love stories tend to make me shiver (not in a good way), but damn… I really liked how they portrayed Desmond and his wife’s relationship. It really humanized Doss as a person. As the story progresses, you’ll realize what a special soul Desmond really was. He wasn’t your typical “macho type”, but he wasn’t less of a man because of that. In the end, it was never about the strength of his physique but the strength of his beliefs.

The Realism Of The Battles Scenes

Mel Gibson is definitely not shy about including violence in his films. In this case, it serves a purpose. War is “ugly” and that’s exactly what Gibson gives to the viewers. As a member of the audience, you’ll feel a whirlwind of emotions. Therefore, brace yourselves. You are going to cry while munching on some snacks.

Most of us feel pretty desensitized towards violence in films. However, the violence in Hacksaw Ridge will move you because it’s meaningful.

Do you need more arguments? Seriously, this film will touch you in so many unexpected ways. When I watched Hacksaw Ridge (a couple of months ago), I didn’t know how to feel about it. Actually, I knew how I felt about it but I had a hard time finding the right words to describe the film. That’s how powerful the experience was for me! Trust me, it’s one of those films that will stay with you. It’s inspiring, heartbreaking and a great reminder about importance of staying true to yourself.

Life Lessons From Hacksaw Ridge

Desmond’s story is really a true testimony about the power of a person’s convictions. Going unarmed to war? Are you kidding me? That’s what a lot people thought during his time and probably what many of us would think.

#1 – Stand Up For Your Convictions

It’s not easy to stand up for something that a lot of people don’t agree with or believe in. There will be people who will disapprove, ostracise or even worse, harass you because of your beliefs. But Desmond also realized that there was no other way for him to do things. In his mind, not staying true to himself was already a form of torture.

#2 – It’s Okay To Be Different

Desmond T. Doss is the living proof that having different beliefs doesn’t mean that you are wrong. Most of us will encounter people like Sargent Howell and Smitty Ryker who will discourage us from doing what we believe. However, it’s also our duty to be resilient and fight adversity. Don’t put too much thought about what others think of you. It’s more about what you think of yourself. If your actions are righteous and truthful, people will respect you for that.

#3 – Kindness Is Not Weakness

Even in the battlefield, Desmond refused to harm the enemy. Now is that stupid? Well, it’s pretty difficult for the average human mind to comprehend his decision. However, Desmond is a man of his word. If he said that he’s not going to “take lives”, then he’s not going to do it. Even if the person from the opposite side is the enemy. It’s part of his faith.