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Spiderman trades tights for Army greens


I have a certain way that I judge the quality of movies. And it never fails me.

My mom always falls asleep 15 minutes into a movie or TV show; it’s like clockwork. She sits down in her sweats, curls up with a blanket, and is snoring by the first commercial break.

So when I brought her with me to see “Hacksaw Ridge” with me, I fully expected her to pass out before the opening credits were over. But as we walked out of the theater, I realized that she stayed awake the entire two hours and 15 minutes.

“What? Why are you so surprised? It was a really intense movie,” was her response to me. She wasn’t wrong.

Scorned former Hollywood starlet Mel Gibson’s World War II drama, “Hacksaw Ridge” tells the true story of U.S. Army Medic Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield). Doss was a Seventh-Day Adventist, and vowed to never pick up a gun, much less fire one. He joined the Army post-Pearl Harbor as a conscientious objector, and faced rejection from his superiors and fellow privates. He leans on his faith in God, and also his wife, Dorothy (Teresa Palmer).

After disobeying direct orders, Doss is taken to trial before he gets shipped out to Japan. His actions in the Pacific eventually earn him a Congressional Medal of Honor.

Desmond Doss next to the portrayed Doss (courtesy of
Desmond Doss next to the portrayed Doss (courtesy of

I would like to put this disclaimer out in the open: if you do not like war films with blood and guts and gore, then this is probably not the movie for you. If “Saving Private Ryan” is ranked in your all time favorites, go get your tickets now.

Garfield gives a masterful performance as a humble, God-fearing, slightly geeky man who is constantly misjudged. He makes you forget all about his tenure as Peter Parker. Despite my initial skepticism, I found Vince Vaughn’s performance as Sergeant Howell to be greatly entertaining. I found myself laughing out loud on multiple occasions. Sam Worthington also gives a stellar performance as the no-bullcrap Captain Glover. Every actor gave a heart wrenching performance, and I would not be surprised if Oscar nominations are too far off.

Gibson blends the gripping tales of some of the bloodiest battles in history with a beautiful love story, but most importantly delivers a message that resonates with every viewer: no matter what life throws at you, stay true to your beliefs. Doss was beaten and verbally abused because he refused to touch a gun, but never lost sight of his convictions. He could have taken the easy way out, but he didn’t.

Here’s the bottom line: you should see this movie. I laughed and cried and jumped out of my seat and felt pretty much every emotion possible. Trust me, if my mom could stay awake, it’s worth it.

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