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Hacksaw Ridge

Diane and I have seen the Mel Gibson directed war movie Hacksaw Ridge. The photo here isn't a still from the movie (which doesn't use b-and-w cinematography). No, what I've pasted above is a historic (May 1945) photo of an escarpment on Okinawa that got the nickname that in turn became the title.

The movie hardly needs any recommendation from me. It has been out for weeks already (it opened Nov. 4 in the US) and has received rave reviews.

Rolling Stone calls it the best war movie since Saving Private Ryan, and that periodical's reviewer says that Gibson as director "deserves a medal."

Another reason the movie needs no recommendation from me: it has done quite well already in box-office terms. It made $15.2 million on its opening weekend, $10.8 million on the second.

These aren't blockbuster level numbers. Andrew Garfield, who plays the conscientious objector at the heart of the story, also played Spider-Man in a 2012 movie, and THAT film earned $35 million on its first day. Still, Garfield is reportedly gratified that he has moved into the realm of real world heroes. And the numbers are quite respectable for an early November release, when the studios are saving their biggest guns for the Thanksgiving-to-New-Year run.

With all that, as I say, I don't do anyone associated with the film any favors by recommending this movie.

 Still: here it is. I highly recommend this movie. It will move you. You may not understand Doss' religious principles before or after you see the movie. He was not drafted -- he enlisted. And as that fact suggests he did not object to the war effort. He just wanted his part in it to be purely that of a medic, and of one who would handle no rifle.

Still, heroism doesn't consist in having the right convictions, it consists in having the courage of the convictions one has. And this movie strikes that note well.


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