Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

Hacksaw Ridge open nationwide in theaters today (11/4).
Andrew Garfield, Teresa Palmer, Sam Worthington, Vince Vaughn, Rachel Griffiths, Hugo Weaving
Directed by: Mel Gibson
Written by: Andrew Knight and Robert Schenkken

ON Wednesday night, prior to a screening of the film, director Mel Gibson and the film’s co-screenwriter Robert Schenkken appeared together at New York’s Sheen Center for Thought & Culture for a Q&A conducted by the center’s film and TV director David DiCerto. The topic: The challenge of turning the incredible true story of Desmond T. Doss into a credible movie. Doss, in case you don’t already know, was a WWII Army medic who, as a Christian pacifist, refused to even touch a gun. Labeled by some as either crazy or a coward, he would go to save several soldiers’ lives during  the bloody Battle of Okinawa and to become America’s first conscientious objector to be awarded with a Medal of Honor.

Gibson said he wanted to the film to be both a tribute to Doss’ brave commitment to his faith and to the courage and dedication of all of America’s combat veterans (some of whom were in the audience).

From watching the film, I can tell you that, IMHO, he succeeded in that goal. Under Gibson’s masterful direction (whatever your opinion of him, the guy is a first-rate storyteller), former Amazing Spider-Man Andrew Garfield turns in a terrific performance as the amazingly humane Doss. The rest of the cast is also effective, especially Hugo Weaving as Doss’ alcoholic father and Vince Vaughn is but the tough-as-nails but, ultimately, Sgt. Howell. Teresa Palmer and Rachel Griffiths are also appealing as, respectively, the devoted women in Doss’ life, respectively his girlfriend (later his wife) and mother.

As for the script, it effectively and convincingly portrays Doss faith without coming off like a “faith film.” This is, indeed, a movie for anyone who likes good movies about interesting characters worth caring about.

The bottom line is that Hacksaw Ridge is awesome and highly-recommended.

John W. Kennedy is a writer/development consultant specializing in teleplays, screenplays and novelizations. He can be reached at

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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