Last night I saw Hacksaw Ridge, starring Andrew Garfield and Vince Vaughn.
Desmond Doss (Garfield) is a simple country boy from Virginia in the mid 1940s. He's fallen in love with a local girl and asked for her hand in marriage. She's agreed to be his bride, anxious to marry him on his first leave home from the service.
He's a dedicated soldier, but a tortured one. His religious beliefs prevent him from taking human life, therefore he is labeled as a Conscientious Objector. He won't operate a rifle, but he will attempt to save lives as a medic in combat.
And that combat becomes very real as Doss, along with his Sargent (Vaughn) and company, are sent to Okinawa, Japan to battle on Hacksaw Ridge. The soldiers before them didn't come out so well in the same location, and they are their replacements.
After his peers resented him for not having to participate in all the drills and training they did, they soon see his dedication to helping them in their most dire moments.
Garfield is inspiring as the humble Doss. The kindness glows from him as he defends his mother from his abusive father, falls head-over-heels for the town nurse and aims to calm his fellow injured soldiers. Any accolades he gets from playing this real-life hero are well-earned.
Director Mel Gibson should also be commended for his painfully real combat scenes and the excellent job he does creating a believable world in 1940s Virginia.
I was surprised by how much I liked this brutal war film.