Writer: Alessandro Camon, Oren Moverman (Screenplay)
Starring: Ben Foster, Jena Malone, Eamonn Walker, Woody Harrelson, Yaya DaCosta, Portia, Lisa Joyce, Steve Buscemi, Peter Francis James, Samantha Morton
Plot: An American soldier struggles with an ethical dilemma when he becomes involved with a widow of a fallen officer.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Story: The Messenger starts as we meet Staff Sergeant Montgomery (Foster) who is open to having affairs as we see with Kelly (Malone). With time running out on his time in the army he gets re-assigned by Colonel Dorsett (Walker) to the notification of death under Captain Stone (Harrelson) showing him the ropes.
We get to see how difficult the job is for the two men as we see different reactions to the news before Montgomery starts to fall in love with one of the widows he informs about her husband’s death Olivia (Morton). The two don’t know how to handle what people will think and Stone is against any involvement in getting involved with anyone they inform the news to.
The Messenger gives us a look into the world of the soldiers that have to inform loved one that their soldiers have died while serving their country. This alone is a difficult subject to cover and to witness how these men have to go through this each time one of their own dies. We also get to look through how both men have troubles in their lives and want to handle them in a different way. I will say this is a difficult story to go through because the if the subject is close to heart this will be hard to see. Overall this is a story that needs to be told because we sometimes forget that the heroes of war will leave people behind that will have to get through the sudden reaction of losing them.
Ben Foster: Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery is an injured soldier whose time is running out in the army, he can’t go back into combat so he gets re-assigned to the notification department because of his strong character. He learns how to handle the situations but ends up breaking one of the rules by getting involved with one of the widows he informs. Ben shows just how good he is in this role which could easily be the best of his career to date.
Jena Malone: Kelly is the girl Will grew up with, they are clearly in love but she didn’t wait for him. The two do meet for flings on the side but in the end we don’t understand how the two act. Jena is solid in this supporting role but it is nothing more than that.
Samantha Morton: Olivia Pitterson is the widow that the two inform of her husband’s death but Will wants to help her out around the house. We see how she gets torn with whether to get involved with Will or continue grieving her husband. Samantha is great in this supporting role showing us just how easy these roles come to her.
Woody Harrelson: Captain Tony Stone is showing Will the ropes for this notification role. He knows the role and how to handle each outcome and reaction from the people they are informing. He doesn’t like how Will is approaching the job in a different way to him which causes tension between the two. Woody is brilliant in this role showing why he is one of the most trusted actors in Hollywood.
Support Cast: The Messenger has a supporting cast which does have a few big names with Steve Buscemi being one of the men informed the news of the loss of his son, most of the supporting cast are people the two have to inform that all give different and real reaction to the news.
Director Review: Oren Moverman – Oren gives us a very powerful film that shows the difficult side of the war in Iraq.
Romance: The Messenger shows how forbidden love can have an effect on the lives it leaves out characters in.
War: The Messenger looks at the side of war that no one wants to learn about with it being dealing with breaking the news of the deaths of family members.
Settings: The Messenger shows us just where the different families will be living during the time their loved ones are at war making each location look like an everyday location.
Suggestion: The Messenger is one film I do think everyone should watch at least once just to see how difficult the notification of a fallen soldier is. (Watch)
Best Part: Foster and Harrelson are brilliant.
Worst Part: Kelly doesn’t feel like a developed enough character.
Believability: While this story is fictional the job, and the reaction could all be real.
Chances of Tears: No
Chances of Sequel: No
Post Credits Scene: No
Oscar Chances: Nominated for 2 Oscars
Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes
Overall: Powerful story on difficult subject.