The Perilous Journey of a Truly Beautiful Soul – Hacksaw Ridge

The Perilous Journey of a Truly Beautiful Soul – Hacksaw Ridge


It isn’t right that other men should fight
and die. I need to serve. Right in the middle with the other guys,
no less danger, just… while everybody else is taking life,
I’m going to be saving it. Watching the story of Desmond Doss in
Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge, I’m reminded of Dostoevsky’s The Idiot which tells the tale of a young man who, similarly to Desmond, is so honest and kind, so pure of heart, that others consider him to be suspicious, naïve,
or even, an idiot. The real purpose of the story however is to portray what can be described as ‘a truly beautiful soul’, and to explore the struggle of innocence and goodness in a corrupted world. With the world so set on tearing itself apart, it doesn’t seem like such a bad thing to me to wanna put a little bit of it back together. Today; I want to dive deeper into the perilous
journey of the truly beautiful soul; discuss the structure of its narrative arc, examine the qualities and beliefs of its character, and reflect on why it is so important to remember
and honor the stories of these unlikely heroes. To take another man’s life that is the most egregious
sin in the Lord’s eye. Nothing hurts his heart so much. The first thing that makes Desmond’s journey stand out is that his character does not change
over the course of the film. The great moral lesson that is often found
at the end of a story has already been figured out at the beginning of his. Instead, the conflict is found in the struggle to maintain his beliefs in the face of various external circumstances. From a storytelling perspective; this is referred
to as a Flat Arc. In Creating Character Arcs, K.M. Weiland writes; Also called the ‘testing arc,’ the Flat Arc is about a character who does not change. He already has the Truth figured out in the
beginning of the story, and he uses that Truth to help him overcome various external tests. The flat-arc protagonist will be confronted
with tremendous opposition. He will at times be shaken. His commitment to the Truth will be tested
to the breaking point – but he will never step away from it. So what is the truth that Desmond has to defend? For starters, there is his unwillingness to
kill another human being. I ain’t got no problem with wearing my uniform,
saluting the flag and doing my duty, it’s just carrying a gun and taking a human life. While this conviction stems from his Christian
faith, it is basically a categorical imperative as found in Kant’s moral philosophy, which
is based on logic rather than religion. In either case; it’s a moral principle that
must be obeyed at all times; and when Desmond signs up to serve in the military, it is one that is obviously challenged; You know quite a bit of killing does occur
in a war? I mean, that’s the essential nature of war. Yes sir. By refusing to pick up a rifle, Desmond becomes
an outsider within his own unit. In this part of the story;
The protagonist is still going to be in reaction mode. This does not mean he’s passive; it just
means he’s not in control of the conflict – the antagonistic force is. In contrast to the Positive Change Arc, the
character is going to spend the First Half of the Second Act getting punished for believing
the Truth. Everyone around him will try to convince him
he’s an idiot for opposing the Lie. Private Doss does not believe in violence,
he does not practice violence. Do not look to him to save you on the battlefield. We see this as they try to get rid of him
by declaring him mentally unfit, You hear voices Desmond? No sir. But I understand that God talks to you is that right? Sir I am not a crazy person. By court-martialing him for disobeying orders, He flaunts his contempt by directly disobeying a series of direct orders from his commanding officer. And by relentlessly bullying him. But like Dostoevsky’s idiot, it’s not just his belief in
non-violence that is under attack. It is also the essence of his personality,
his goodness and innocence, that are being challenged. We meet Desmond as someone who is sincere,
gentle and selfless, which Mel Gibson emphasizes by the genuine, if not somewhat cheesy style of these early scenes of Desmond’s family life and his blossoming
romance with Dorothy. Ever since you stuck me with that needle my heart’s been beating real fast. Every time I think about you it beats faster still. But these qualities only seem to make him
more of an outcast among his fellow men. See I don’t think this is a question of
religion fellas, I think this is cowardice. To them, he is seen as someone who is
afraid of violence, who is too naive and child-like to be taken seriously. See, there you go thinking it all out. Did you figure this war is gonna fit in with you? Your ideas? What you got there Dessy? And who isn’t masculine enough to be with
the woman he loves. Now this would be the kind of broad that deserves
a real man. And it is here that the true antagonist is revealed, the Lie that opposes Desmond’s truth, which is; There is no place for love,
goodness and compassion in a violent world, and especially not in men who are tasked with
protecting the innocent from, well, other men. It is what we men fight for,
to protect our women and children, even if private Doss’ beliefs might cause
women and children to die. All this hostility accumulates into a moment
of doubt for Desmond where significant uncertainty arises about
the logic of his beliefs; Just like any man, I wrestle with my conscience, but what do you do when everything you value in this world is under attack? And the qualities of his own character; Why can’t you just pick up the stupid gun
and wave it around? But I can’t do that. Yes you can, it’s just pride, pride and stubbornness, don’t confuse your will with the Lord’s. Have I been prideful? Maybe I’m prideful. But then comes the revelation; a reminder of why his struggle was so important, a reminder of what is at stake. At this midpoint, Desmond re-discovers his
confidence, and he even finds an unexpected ally in his father who, after being exposed to the implications of the Lie himself, Is that truly the way it works? You fight for your country, you lose so much
that was dear to you and then you’re done with? Begins to see the light and comes to his son’s aid. Private Doss, you are free to run into the hellfire of battle without a single weapon to protect yourself. Moving past the midpoint, Desmond is no longer reacting to external forces, he is taking action. The doubts he had about his beliefs are gone, and it is now the world around him that
is awakening to his truth. I learned how to hate quick. Learned how to judge people even quicker
and I got you very wrong. Desmond’s success is however short-lived,
for his greatest obstacle is yet to come. As the American forces are overrun, Desmond
tries to help as much as he can, but all his efforts seem in vain. At this point, he is confident in his beliefs, but not in his ability to use those beliefs
to make a meaningful difference. It raises the essential question; is his truth
powerful enough to overcome the lie? Is there any real value in love,
goodness and compassion in a world so corrupted by evil and suffering? What is it you want of me? Desmond doesn’t really get a chance
to think it over as the cries for a medic quickly call him back
into the hellfire. All right. Saving the world, one man at the time. Maybe it does take an idiot. A bit of dim-witted bravery and blind devotion. Please lord, help me get one more. Help me get one more. Either way;
He is committed up to his neck. He will do anything to accomplish his goal
– even if it means sacrificing his life. One more. Help me get one more. As the sun rises, we find that Desmond’s
faith passed its great tribulation, but it didn’t leave him completely unchanged. His beliefs remain intact, but all the non-vital
elements, like his insistence on not touching a gun, You’re like gum on a shoe ain’t you?
– Give me this. have been discarded. Jump on it. You kidding? No, I’m gonna drag you. Stripped down to its core, Desmond’s truth
is now embodied in its absolute essence. And as a result; everyone around him
now embraces it too. All I saw was a skinny kid. I didn’t know who you were. You’ve done more than any other man could’ve
done in the service of his country. Now, I’ve never been more wrong about
someone in my life, I hope one day you can forgive me. The climax follows the soldiers as they once
again attempt to take Hacksaw Ridge, We have to go back up tomorrow. This time not driven by brute force or hyper-masculine
heroics, but by Desmond’s spirit. Most of these men don’t believe the same way you do, but they believe so much in how much you believe. And what you did up that ridge is nothing
short of a miracle and they want a piece of it. And they’re not gonna go up there without you. And so, with everyone having embraced the truth; the same battle that earlier was lost, is now won. You may however notice a discrepancy between
Desmond’s beliefs and the violence involved in the final victory. Jesus said; ‘a new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.’ But I think this actually emphasizes the real
purpose of Desmond’s truth; it is not meant to rescue a corrupted world or
to solve the eternal problem of human evil, it is meant to endure despite of it. Dostoevsky believed that the world would eventually
take the best of the individuals like Desmond, that like Christ, they are fated to be destroyed. But fortunately, history has proven to be a little kinder. President Truman decorates you, Desmond T. Doss, with a congressional medal of honor. I thank God for letting me do my part in this war and saving the lives of my fellow men. Overall, Hacksaw Ridge shows us how easily we project our own fears and insecurities on others, how readily we deny ourselves love
and compassion, and how quickly we fail to believe; fail to believe that we can do good
even if it’s against our better judgement, that we can be brave when all is falling apart, and that we can keep going even though
we have every reason to give up. And to witness someone like Desmond Doss, someone who reminds us of that strength,
of that potential of the human will, that is truly beautiful.

Comments

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    Delta Division

    I’m so touched by all your videos surrounding the beauty with films and shows. You clearly have a sense of understanding for how things truly change the harshness of human action and error. You understand the things human beings must to do achieve mutual respect and acceptance. Thank you.

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    Tom Hutchins

    What troubled me about this film is the contradiction between what it seems to be saying ("all life is sacred"), and what it actually shows in its relative treatment of the violence committed by and upon the American and Japanese soldiers ("those insert racial epithet are vicious, barbaric, murdering scum who wouldn't look out of place as the Orcs in a LotR film, not like our delicate upstanding boys who are little angels, yes even the nasty bullies, and when they do horrible things they're just cleansing the Earth").

    There are so many stories of conscientious objectors who became medics and risked their lives to save life regardless of side, and their stories make great film – the comedy series Dad's Army did a great episode where they play it completely straight: the elderly Godfrey first refuses to carry a rifle, gets bullied for it by Captain Mainwaring, then goes into a burning building to save Mainwaring. At the end we learn that he was decorated for saving lives (not stated but implied that he didn't care whose) in no man's land at the Somme.

    In this case I think the filmmaking devalues it's stated goal in presenting these orgies of violence as something we should be partizan about, rather than as a universal horror.

    That's my view, but what's your take on this? Having watched a few of your videos it seems like something you would be aware of.

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    Rhey Vincent Tinawi

    Wow, just wow, the feeling I felt while watching "Hacksaw Ridge" just came raining down on me again, the respect I felt for Desmond after watching this film is really something, how beautiful it is that as he walks a thread of hope in a violent world he still sticks to his beliefs, to save and serve his country in his own way.

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    foremount

    I'm so glad that Mel Gibson took control over this project than any one of those Christian production company like PureFlix. They would have added a cheesy, up-beat generic Christian band playing in the back ground instead of revealing the cruelty and trials of Desmond Doss. Gibson is a brilliant director.

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    carmenmena16

    Tom, don't get lost. Keep in touch. There's art in your interpretations, true wisdom in your words, spirituality in your assertive and deep descriptions and narrative. I'd like to see more of your content here. I'd love to listen to your insights regarding movies such as Powder, The Matrix, The Peaceful Warrior….Thanks in advance for your attention to my requests… Congratulations on the masterpieces that you create.

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    Cassandre Allard

    This is the most beautiful thing i've ever heard and it keeps on getting greater and greater each time I listen it again. Thank you so much for sharing your truly beautiful mind!😊

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    E. Gold

    In all seriousness, the same can be applied to Naruto. Although not a flat arc, he personifies this concept effectively as well.

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    Pura Imaginacion

    I needed this today, thank you… I´m a vacation photographer and I got banned from coming even remotely close to one of my favorite sites to take guests to. Just because I was treating them with kindness and respect and not like just walking wallets. I was really sad , but you my friend like always , makes me believe again.

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    bournechupacabra

    After watching this I was thinking that there was no way that this was historically accurate. But it turns out Gibson actually left some real events out because he thought the audience wouldn't believe it:

    "Other changes to the story occur near the end of the movie when Doss is placed on a stretcher. In real life, Doss had another wounded man take his place on the stretcher. After treating the soldier, a sniper shot fractured Doss' arm and he crawled over 300 yards[50] to safety after being left alone for five hours.[51] Gibson omitted this from the film because he felt that the audience would not find the scene believable."

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    Vincent Law

    This made me drop a tear like the movie did the first time I watched it……I call this the "tear of truth" because it only drops when I see something so beautiful and true, that I can't hold it any more.

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    Killian Davies

    "Please, Lord, help me get one more powerful and impactful LSOO video…help me get one more…"

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    Rebekah Anderson

    "Thou shalt not kill" is a MISTRANSLATION of "Thou shalt not Murder". Murder is defined as the shedding of innocent blood.
    The English translation is the only one that says "kill."

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    Purpled

    "Just one more.." – Schindler's List, Hacksaw Ridge. He who saves the life of one man saves the world entirely.

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    another505

    I dont get why you make it unreligious into simple moral. At the start of the film, we see that is more than just moral of not killing, but also his religious conviction to save life for God.

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    kustjagara

    A brilliant film about a decent Christian who refused to abandon his faith. This is why Hollywood and the anti-christian media hated it.

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    Santiago Medina Monroy

    I needed to watch this as a Mexican in Japan that often people tell has no business here, and it helped a lot.. though it also made me cry a lot… but thanks thanks a lot I shall continue helping my brother and sister everyone I meet to the best of my abilities peacefully

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    Stephen Richey

    As a war veteran myself, I salute Desmond Doss. He was far braver than I could ever dream of being. But–if it were not for all those Allied soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who went forth with their weapons to kill Japanese soldiers, sailors, airmen, and naval infantry, then, Imperial Japan, which inflicted on millions of people atrocities of a size and horror rivaling those of Nazi Germany, would have been free to murder and enslave half the world.

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    Kelsea Lawrenson

    I've just discovered your channel this weekend and am already subbed after watching just 3 or 4 videos. That's astonishingly quick for me. These are incredibly well made and truly make me feel something, much like the movies you analyse. Your editing and production skills are also top-notch. I hope you continue to make memorable, meaningful content like this, and that your sub-count reflects your combined skills.

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    Fenriz the Jester

    So he didn't want to shoot Nazis, who were against his own religion, because an imaginary man on the cloud allegedly told him not to through a book. A beatiful soul? This has so many layers of stupid I can't even-

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    Thomas Chen

    It's often not realized by many how or why the Medal of Honor is awarded. Most people might assume that medals are awarded like a trophy or score, for achieving something quantitative. And in war the often sought measure of how well a soldier performs is by the number of enemies they have killed.
    But if that were the case, why weren't the crews of the Enola Gay and Bockscar showered with medals, including the Medal of Honor?

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    Juan Manuel Penaloza

    Is it just me or is Andrew Garfield typecasted as "Devout Christian in Japan being tested"? Because….there's also Silence.

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    Alex Chan

    I am glad that the outcome didn't go as Dostoevsky's predicted
    This strengthen my will to practice categorical morals

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    deomartinez77

    I felt this video was preaching a message to me that I really needed to hear. You have gained a new subscriber sir.

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    Michael Rakestraw

    "Humility was largely meant as a restraint upon the arrogance and infinity of the appetite of man. [I]f a man [will] make his world large, he must be always making himself small. A man [is] meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth." from "Orthodoxy" by GK Chesterton, Chapter II: "The Suicide of Thought"

    This video really reminded of that. "[H]umility makes a man doubtful about his efforts, which might make him work harder." When Desmond had his doubts, he never wavered from the Truth. His humility had him work harder; not change what he was working for.

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    Matthias Witteman

    Please keep your work up. The values you speak of in your videos are what we need to talk about in our world today.

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