“I think the most difficult thing in life – and I struggle with this all the time – is to overcome your own fallen nature,” says Mel Gibson. After the world premiere at the Venice Film Festival of his film Hacksaw Ridge, which centres on one man’s moral response to war, he found himself being asked to explain his own values.
“We are a bunch of people full of flaws. So to try and overcome those negative things in ourselves, that are born in us – a good way to that is to choose love.
“And this is what impressed me about Desmond [Doss – the central character]. Greater love hath no man than he give his life for another and this guy: that is what he was about. He was putting his life on the line, crawling into all kinds of horrible situations, for his brothers. For anybody. It didn’t matter what they looked like or smelt like. That’s a pretty high calling.”
Early reviews out of Venice have been largely positive. “Back in the saddle with Hacksaw Ridge, (Gibson) once again proves himself a muscular storyteller,” said trade magazine The Hollywood Reporter,“who knows exactly how to raise a pulse, heighten emotion and build intensity to explosive peaks.”
Doss was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, son of William Thomas Doss, a carpenter, and Bertha E. (Oliver) Doss.
Desmond Doss enlisted in April 1942, but refused to kill or carry a weapon into combat because of his personal beliefs as a Seventh-day Adventist. He consequently became a medic, and while serving in the Pacific theatre of World War II he helped his country by saving the lives of his comrades, at the same time adhering to his religious convictions. Doss was wounded three times during the war, and shortly before leaving the Army he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, which cost him a lung. Discharged from the Army in 1946, he spent five years undergoing medical treatment for his injuries and illness.
Desmond Doss died in 2006 at his home in Piedmont, Alabama, after being hospitalized for breathing troubles, the same day as another Medal of Honor recipient, David Bleak. He was buried in Chattanooga, Tennessee’s National Cemetery. Read More