He became the first conscientious objector to receive America’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor, which is bestowed on the precious few who have distinguished themselves with incredible gallantry beyond the call of duty.
In Doss’ extraordinary case, he ran into a hail of Japanese bullets in May 1945 at the Battle of Okinawa, without a weapon to return fire, and risked his life to rescue injured soldiers from the blood-soaked battleground.
In an era of questionable morality, when principles are repeatedly compromised for the sake of selfish gain, one man’s inspirational journey of righteous self-sacrifice is an invigorating tonic.
Gibson directs with verve, orchestrating hellish battle scenes.
Aerial bombardments scythe through flesh, ripping limbs from torsos or exploding craniums as a well-targeted bullet careens through an eye socket.
The senseless slaughter of young men in the prime of their lives is heartbreaking.
Desmond (Andrew Garfield) is born and raised with his brother Hal (Nathaniel Buzolic) in Lynchburg, Virginia, against the picturesque backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains. His father Tom (Hugo Weaving) is an emotionally-scarred veteran of World War 1 and mother Bertha (Rachel Griffiths) educates her brood using The Bible.
At an early age, Desmond almost kills Hal and he is haunted by the episode. “To take another man’s life is the most egregious sin,” counsels Bertha.
Her words have a profound effect on Desmond, who takes up a vow of pacifism, even when he enrols in the US Army.
He intends to follow the lead of his nurse girlfriend, Dorothy Schutte (Teresa Palmer), and serve as a medic. However, Desmond is ushered into combat training under no-nonsense Sergeant Howell (Vince Vaughn) but refuses to carry arms.
Desmond’s defiance leads to his arrest for insubordination and he faces a trial behind closed doors.
Garfield delivers a mesmerizing lead performance as a gentle and caring man who yearns to serve the country he loves, but isn’t willing to abandon his moral compass.