Didn’t do much this weekend. Stopped by a couple of estate sales, went deeper into the Longmire oeuvre, read the first lesson in the Pentecost service on Sunday (“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come.”), and went to Washington, MO with the OM to eat some lunch by the mighty Missouri River.
I also watched the movie Hacksaw Ridge (2016), directed by Mel Gibson, which tells the true story of Desmond Doss, the first conscientious objector to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.
(“Doss single-handedly entered enemy line of fire to retrieve approximately 75 casualties, carrying them one-by-one down a 400-foot escarpment. “*)
Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist, who refused to carry a gun on religious grounds, although he served in a fighting unit as a medic, was ostracized at first by fellow soldiers for his pacifist stance. However, he went on to earn their respect and adoration for his bravery, selflessness and compassion after he risked his life — without firing a shot — to save 75 wounded men in the Battle of Okinawa. It is a pretty inspiring story and well told, and a throwback to heroic war stories of the Golden Age of Hollywood. The cast is good with Andrew Garfield excellent as Doss, playing it very straight, and the likable Vince Vaughan channeling John Wayne in the Sgt. Stryker role.
But (and this is a big but) the computer-generated violence is over-the-top. Just because you can now show people having their legs blown off, doesn’t mean you should. The battle sequences are too much and obscene in their detail. It would have been possible to cut 20 minutes out of this movie and still gotten across the horror of the battle (and it was truly horrible, no doubt about it). Whatever happened to restraint and suggestion?
Mel Gibson, as we know, is a single-minded Roman Catholic, who, as we have seen in past movie outings, tends to wallow, literally and figuratively, in the blood of Christ. What was his childhood trauma anyway?
Well, it is a good movie nonetheless and well worth watching for the story of the modern Christian hero Desmond Doss. Nowhere in this movie is anyone invited to laugh at or even smirk at Pvt. Doss and I liked that.
And now it is Monday. I have several hard things to do this week, but none of them is climbing Hacksaw Ridge. Onward and upward.
*Read more here.