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W HEN CON T ROV ER SI A L DIR EC TOR M EL GIBSON TA P P E D A N D R E W G A R F I E L D T O S TA R I N A N E W F I L M T H AT A S K S B I G Q U E S T I O N S A B O U T WA R , G O D A N D M O R A L I T Y, N E I T H E R R E A L I Z E D H O W M U C H I T W O U L D CH A NGE BOTH OF THEM.

BY BR ET T MCCR ACK EN

THE CHOSEN ONE

E

M

EL GIBSON, BY HIS OWN ADMISSION,

does not live up to the standard of Desmond Doss. Neither does Andrew Garfield, who plays Doss in Gibson’s new film about his life, Hacksaw Ridge (in theaters November 4). Yet both Garfield and Gibson, men born in U.S. but raised abroad, find inspiration in the classic American tale Hacksaw Ridge tells

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about Doss: a tale of convictions tested and courageous faith (literally) under fire. Doss was a medic in World War II and America’s first conscientious objector to win the Medal of Honor. A devout Seventh Day Adventist, Doss’s pacifism kept him from wielding a rifle. Yet he felt compelled to join the Army; he wanted to save lives and not take them. He endured scorn and persecution for this conviction, but went on

to become a legendary hero. Doss survived some of the bloodiest fighting in the Pacific, and in the process he saved scores of his fellow soldiers from death—all without ever touching a weapon. Justly portraying a complex hero like Doss was a challenge for Garfield, more so than a comic book hero like Spiderman, who he portrayed in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) and its sequel. “It was difficult to live up to that

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RELEVANT-Issue 84- November/December 2016  
RELEVANT-Issue 84- November/December 2016