The Messenger

The Messenger* * * *
The Messenger
– sp – When you have a good script dealing with a storyline of families being informed by two military guys that their loved ones have been killed in action and you bring in top notch actors, you have the formula for a great movie. Co-writer and first time director Oren Moverman who has some background in the Israeli army captured the drama and emotion of death notification of the Iraqi/Afghanistan War. Ben Foster delivers an exquisitely sensitive performance playing Will Montgomery a young battle scarred veteran who is assigned the last 3 months of his military rotation to work stateside with Captain Tony Stone very capably inhabited by Woody Harrelson. The Captain knows the routine for these heart-wrenching visits with family members and has almost insulated himself from his feelings about what he is doing. Pain appears to drip from every pore as we watch them go on their appointed tasks. Samantha Morton is also outstanding in her role as Olivia Pitterson one of the wives who receives the dreaded news. The well-written script allows the story of each character to unfold, as the young sergeant becomes a buddy with the crusty Captain as well as becoming very understanding and close with the young widow. Steve Buscemi is also unforgettable in his role as a dad getting the news about his soldier son. Woody Harrelson was a guest at our screening and revealed that the director did not have the actors rehearse the notifications scenes, which appeared to intensify the spontaneity and rawness of them. This was counterbalanced in our opinion by a few unnecessarily drawn-out scenes where Harrelson and Foster’s characters were establishing their bonding by drinking in a hideaway cabin in the woods with two girls or visiting the sergeant’s old girl friend at her engagement party. Nevertheless we believe this film will stand as one of defining depictions of the war that we are in today. (2009)

Category: 4 Stars, Drama, War | Tags: , , , , , , , Comment »

Leave a Comment

There may be a slight delay before your comment is posted.

Back to top