Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Viewed on the Big Screen in Colorado

Hacksaw Ridge, Chapel Hills 13 Cinema, Monument
This week’s state film works well for Movie Churches, because not only is a church featured in the film, I went to the theater and saw the film with pastors.

We were staying in Colorado with the former pastors (Dave and Becca Jordan-Irwin) of our former church (Healdsburg Community Church). When we told them that going to a movie theater was part of our trek for every state, they happily went along. They even had passes which had been a gift from members of their current congregation, so we went to Carmike Cinemas. (The theater was in the mall, and it provided a worthy film going experience.)

The film we went to see, Hacksaw Ridge, could most certainly be called a Christian film. But unlike Christian films we’ve seen in recent weeks such as Priceless and I Am Not Ashamed, this film came from a major studio. Unlike those films it had a major studio’s budget. Unlike those films, it is very well made.

I should probably warn you though, before you pack up the Sunday School students or youth group, that Hacksaw Ridge is rated R. It earns that rating through extreme violence as it tells the true story of Desmond Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist and pacifist who still believed it was his duty to serve in World War II. He fought, non-violently, for the right to serve as a medic in the army, and he fought (non-violently) not to carry a weapon, violating army policy. There is a brief scene film set in Doss’ church, but how he lived shows the importance of faith in his life.

Becca has a tendency to nod off during films, but that didn’t happen during Hacksaw Ridge, which expertly builds tension, first in showing the training of Doss (played by Andrew Garfield) and then in the battles he served. My wife Mindy often didn’t watch the battle scenes because of the violence, but once Doss’s acts of courage were on screen, she watched all of it. These true actions seem incredible. One might doubt that Doss did what he did, if it weren’t for the actual footage of people portrayed in the film. Don’t leave early and miss that footage.

Now, I said Hacksaw Ridge  is a Christian film, because it portrays a Christian trying to live out his faith in the world. Was it made by a Christians?

It was directed by Mel Gibson who has been vocal about his Catholic faith. He has also publicly lived out a life with some pretty awful actions and statements. You can Google it. Separating the artist and the art is always a challenge. I think that challenge is worth it, particularly the case of this excellent film.

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