Rating: R, 139 minutes
In a Nutshell: This is NOT your typical Christian movie. Directed by Mel Gibson, this graphic, true story inspires faith and courage amidst a background of the brutal, horrors of World War II.
The audience cheered and clapped several times during the movie to honor the first “conscientious objector" to receive the Medal of Honor, Desmond T. Doss. The theater I sat in was also filled with veterans, based on their reaction and the comments I heard from them while we slowly walked out.
“When the world is busy tearing itself apart, it doesn’t seem like such a bad thing to me to want to put a little bit of it back together.” – Desmond
How well do you hold to your convictions? How well do you show respect to those who do?
Bravery, cowardice, patriotism, friendship.
Things I liked:
The star cast really knocked it out of the park on this one. The acting really was stellar, led by Hugo Weaving, Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, and Dorothy Schutte. Vince Vaughn was surprisingly effective. Hugo Weaving was absolutely amazing.
Most people don’t much about Seventh Day Adventists. It was inspiring to watch a man truly live his religion.
It reminded me a little bit of the faithful story in Saints and Soldiers, but with the gore and drama of Saving Private Ryan
How do they film war scenes like this?
I always love true stories where you get to see video footage and pictures of the real people the story is about at the end of the movie.
Desmond goes to Fort Jackson. I didn’t realize it was around during WWII. My oldest son went there for his Army training too.
Mel Gibson was a Hollywood hunk for many decades, only to be laughed at and dismissed in the past few years as a jerk and wackadoodle. This film may be his comeback and apology. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone is willing to grant him an Oscar. Gibson is on par with his excellent work in Braveheart and Apocalypto After a 10 year directing break, welcome back, Mel.
There is a huge contrast between the sweet, innocent love story between Desmond and Dorothy during the first half of the movie and the brutal, gory carnage of the second half. That stark contrast reminds me of the incredibly powerful movie “Life is Beautiful.”
Things I didn’t like:
Does faith, patriotism, and courage have to be packaged with so much violence and gore to be appreciated?
No guns. No killing. Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah....Batman.
You feel like your gut has been punched and your heart ripped out by the time you stagger out of the theater.
Here's an interesting trailer with Mel Gibson. Did he get religion?
“The U.S. Army does not make mistakes.” –
“You better come home to me.” – Dorothy Schutte (Teresa Palmer)
“In peace, men bury their sons. In war, fathers bury their son.” – Vito Rinnelli (Firass Dirani)
“You didn’t kill him. “ – Smitty (I loved Luke Bracey in Point Break (2015)
“In my heart, I did.” - Desmond
“All I saw was a skinny kid. I didn’t know who you were.” – Captain Glover (I chuckled to myself, because Sam Worthington's character in Avatar was all about "I see you.")
“I have seen corn stalks with better physiques.” – Sgt. Howell (Vince Vaughn)
“We’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy. Keep climbing.” – drill
“You’re like gum on a shoe, ain’t ya?” – Sgt. Howell
“It’s a bit late for target practice, don’t ya think?” – Sgt. Howell
“I’m going to marry her. “ – Desmond
“Does she know it?” – Bertha Doss (Rachel Griffiths)
Tips for parents:
This is NOT a children’s movie. It’s rated R for extreme violence, gore, lots of scary dead bodies, and realistic war images.
You see the rear end of a naked soldier.
It’s surprising how little profanity there is, considering the movie is full of tough soldiers in horrible situations.