Thursday, December 15, 2016

Violence with a Purpose: Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge” by Dwight Longenecker


In this secular age, the fact that Mel Gibson did not shy away from the reality that the hero of Hacksaw Ridge was a conservative, Bible-believing Christian makes the film all the more astounding…

Mel Gibson’s new film, Hacksaw Ridge continues the controversial actor and director’s taste for gusto, guts, and glory. From Mad Max and the Lethal Weapon films,Braveheart, We Were Soldiers, Apocalypto and Passion of the Christ, Mr. Gibson has not been afraid to explore the viscera of violence.
His new film is gory with guts and glory.
In Hacksaw Ridge Mr. Gibson tells the true story of army medic Desmond Doss during the Second World War battle of Okinawa. Doss was a devout Seventh Day Adventist who, as a conscientious objector, still considered the war to be just. Enlisting in an infantry unit, the scrawny, but stubborn Doss endures bullying from his comrades and a court-martial from his superiors before serving them courageously on the battlefield.
Mr. Gibson does not spare the viewer the horror and heartbreak of hand-to-hand combat. The camera charges into battle with the soldiers and views the butchered on the battlefield with shock and a kind of disgusted detachment. Here lies a head, there half a soldier. There lies a lopped-off limb, and there screams a terrified boy with no legs. There is no glory on the Okinanawa battlefield— just humans reduced to animals with bared teeth stabbing, shooting, screaming, bombing, and burning one another with the fire, fear, fury, and frustration of hell itself.
Critics of Mr. Gibson’s Passion of the Christ said it was too gory. Mr. Gibson, they accused, had some kind of sick obsession with blood and guts. I disagree. Mr. Gibson’s films are truly graphic, but the violence is justified. When analyzing the portrayal of violence in film one must assess not simply the images on the screen, but the context in which they are portrayed, the intention of the filmmaker and the total morality of the film.
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