Since I saw the first act of the movie Hacksaw Ridge, directed by Mel Gibson and starring ex-spiderman Andrew Garfield. I had no doubt that he was a controversial character. So much so that I couldn't resist and expressed my opinion about the story on Facebook. Of course, it all ended in a barrage of negative comments for what he had said.
After the euphoria of the debate passed, I realized that this was not just another movie for the Christian viewer. Mel Gibson reached the religious public with a very recurring character in the Seventh Art: JESUS! in The Passion. Nothing more and nothing less than the story of Jesus Christ crucified. In the best Mel style! Blood everywhere, groans of pain, skin that comes off the flesh, a shot of the cross while the first drop of water announces the resolution of the conflict, what else? The impact was such that Mel Gibson, being Mel Gibson, today is a benchmark of cinematographic art among the most important domes of the Christian religion. He is invited to conferences, youth congresses! (Well done Mel!)
But, Hacksaw Ridge is different. It is not just another "Jesus" movie. This is not just a religious character, he was real, in our time, the guy was "an Adventist", and let's face it! When do we see the story of an Adventist in the cinema?! It was with that question that I understood the reason for so many posts on social networks about the "Desmond Doss movie, the Adventist soldier." "Hey, it's one of you!" Mel says indifferently to a reporter of such denomination when he is doing the interview.
However. I would like to tell you what I think in the most honest way possible. Honest intellectually speaking. Because it is easy to give an opinion just to give an opinion. Now giving an opinion guided by principles and convictions is not easy at all. I do it because it seemed relevant to me to give my point of view on this film. As an artist, as a filmmaker, and as a man of faith and convictions.
No me gusta asociar Desmond Doss con mis princípios cristianos por el siguiente motivo.
Desmond Doss was most certainly a Seventh-day Adventist. A Seventh-day Adventist who faced with a decision like those that would lead you to war or not, did not ask any pastor or leader of the SDA whether he should enlist to go to war. But he did, he got ready determined not to carry weapons. If Doss at that time had done so, or had at least searched for information, he would have been surprised at that time. The SDA in Europe was, forcibly (or I would be persecuted), in favor of Nazism. Hitler's idea was to use the small denominations for political propaganda.
Despite all this, Desmond Doss did not need to go to war, since military service was not required. At the end of the day, every Christian knows that he must LOVE his enemies. A follower of Christ must be a PEACEMAKER because our citizenship is not in this world (be it an analogy, or be it literal, it is a very beautiful principle of life). Thus, little Doss, being a young Adventist, who did not accept to use weapons for a matter of religious principle, should never have thought, even about going to war, and likewise, he should not support it, or legitimize it with his presence, although her purposes are worthy! (no one saw that in the movie!)
What made Desmond Doss stand out from the other soldiers was the absurdity of having voluntarily enlisted for war as a non-combatant ... yes, you have read and seen that in the film, a NON-combatant. What does a Noncombatant do in war? In fact, that was why everyone was surprised to see this skinny one among those preparing for a bloody period of fighting and suffering on the battlefield.
If you have not seen yet, or in any case you are going to watch the film, you will discover that in one of the scenes of the first act, Desmond Doss's brother, who did enlist to fight, states that many young Adventists did the same. I mean, hundreds of young Adventists went to war to fight!
Very good. In World War I (no! Hitler was not here!), German Adventist leaders encouraged the use of arms to defend Germany even on Saturday! Of course, World War had absolutely nothing to do with the Nazis. The reasons were other.
It was at that moment in history that the Adventist Reformation Movement was born. (read the article “Loving our enemies, reflections on the centenary of World War I)
Another point that gave me a bitter taste is the strong preconception of race against the Japanese, who are literally presented as "animals" that preferentially kill "enemy doctors" (When Doss arrives at the battlefield they suggest that he remove the doctor's badge). It's like Desmond Doss is fighting a holy war, between Christianity and Japanese Buddhism, with the movie trying to prove that God is American and the devil is Japanese!
Could the film serve as an evangelistic pretext in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, or in some eastern neighborhood? I challenge you to invite a Japanese or Oriental friend to watch the movie. And after looking at it, you invite him to pray ... but! Who am I to go against the brilliant witnesses of those who love Desmond Doss ?!
The million dollar question: Could a Seventh-day Adventist participate, as a nurse or paramedic, in the actions of an extermination group of Japanese, even if they are traffickers!, Without being considered an accomplice to the murders practiced by such a group? No, of course not. Ergo, Desmond Doss did not shoot, but he supported those who were shooting. So it makes no difference! It is like the hero of Hacksaw Ridge has said to his comrades: “hey! Kill as many Japanese as you can, I'll go back collecting what's left of you! " … In fact, if with The Passion of Christ, Mel Gibson burned himself with the Jews, gaining the fame of anti-Semitic, now I do not doubt that the Japanese call him Anti-Japanese ...
From the point of view of the film, if the soldiers in the movie hadn't come to fight, how many of those Japanese or their descendants would be alive today and with the opportunity to hear about the plan of salvation? In a battle like the one the film presents, the possibility of one of those soldiers, regardless of the flag, hearing about Jesus and accepting him as personal Savior was drastically reduced and cut off in a fraction of seconds, at the speed of a bullet or the firing of a flame spear. If Desmond Doss wanted to make a difference as a Christian, he would have gone to Japan as a missionary, as a bearer of hope! But we are talking about an alleged American hero who volunteered to go to war, according to the film, because he felt attacked and outraged by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Who believed that he should do something for the United States, who had the wonderful idea of going to give support and cover to his colleagues while they killed Japanese ... A true Christian would have ignored the war as such to provide better living conditions for his family (in fact, the film shows Doss within a stable community, a member of an American middle class family!), without murdering and without being an accomplice to anyone's death. A true Christian would have been imprisoned even as a deserter, or as a coward, but he would never stain his hands with blood ... as the first heroes of the faith did.
But what I have learned from this film is that because the content of the story is Christian, it doesn't mean that it is good! And that it is important to analyze, even if it is something that coincides with our convictions.