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Great movie, horrible to watch.

I didn't find the violence gratuitous. There was a story to tell, and to tell it truthfully, the full impact had to be shown. It was based on a book, which was based on accounts of soldiers who were there. The repeated attempts at the ridge had repeated costs. To soften that would reduce the value of the movie, do disservice to the participants, and let viewers walk away without understanding. Tarantino gives us blood as comic effect. I don't think that applies here.

In a sense, death was cheap; bullet hits man, man drops. Next. No swooning, no excess drama. Same for the Japanese. What was shown was combatants fighting without understanding. Just kill, pushed forward by officers who didn't understand much themselves. Telling a man to go die is tough work, and the effect of that was repeatedly shown.

And I think that's the bottom line of combat.

Doss's story was profound enough to get him the Medal of Honor. Again, the repeated efforts showed the magnitude of his accomplishment. He hauled down 75 men. You might think Gibson got carried away, but at least we understood what South Pacific combat was about.

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