The Messenger (2009)

The Messenger (2009)
  • Time: 113 min
  • Genre: Drama | Romance | War
  • Director: Oren Moverman
  • Cast: Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton


Will Montgomery (Ben Foster), a U.S. Army Staff Sergeant who has returned home from Iraq, is assigned to the Army’s Casualty Notification service. Montgomery is partnered with Captain Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson), to give notice to the families of fallen soldiers. The Sergeant is drawn to Olivia Pitterson (Samantha Morton), to whom he has delivered news of her husband’s death.


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  • Will Montgomery (Foster),an Iraq War veteran has spent his fair share of time in army hospitals, and with just three months to go before returning to civilian life, he discovers that his girlfriend back home (Malone) has decided to move on with her life. Crestfallen, Will discovers that his latest hope for a fresh start will be training to work for the Casualty Notification Office under the mentorship of senior officer Tony (Harrelson). As someone who had a close brush with death himself, Will isn’t sure that he’s the man to tell families that their own loved ones will never be coming home. Thankfully, in between his assignments, Tony offers a sympathetic ear and the two men form a bond.

    The Messenger has a very simplistic plot but at the same time tells a very emotional story. Ultimately the film is a character study. Of Will, who joined the army looking for a family, went to war and now has to readjust to “normal” life, of Tony, a man who’s devotion to the army forced him to bottle up his emotions and of Kelly,a grieving widow (Morton) of a fallen soldier. It’s a very sad, powerful and emotional film that shows two man doing a job no one in their right minds would want to do and the toll it takes on them. Trough their bond, they are able to confront some of their inner demons and to a certain extent, finally let go.

    Both Foster and Harrelson were absolutely exceptional. Samantha Morton was a bit too apathetic for my taste (even considering she was grieving) and Steve Buscemi, who had a small part was great as usual. Overall, it’s not the easiest film to watch and it’s not a light drama. It deals with serious issues and the characters go trough a lot of pain and suffering but that’s a consequence of war and part of “real life” and therefor the film deserves to be seen.

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