The Messenger (2009)

messangerDirector: Oren Moverman

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

 

Verdict: Powerful

 

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.infomrer

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.

 

Actor Review

 

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 MovermanOren 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.

Ratingcard

 

 

Bullet to the Head (2012)

logoDirector: Walter Hill

Writer: Alessandro Camon (Screenplay) Alexis Nolent, Colin Wilson (Graphic Novel)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Sung Kang, Sarah Shahi, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jason Momoa, Christian Slater, Jon Seda, Holt McCallany

 

Plot: After watching their respective partners die, a New Orleans hitman and a Washington D.C. detective form an alliance in order to bring down their common enemy.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Stallone Action Flick

 

Story: Bullet to the Head starts by showing James Bonomo (Stallone) saving a cop before explaining why and we flashback to how he got there. James is a hit man and along with is partner Louis (Seda) are good at their jobs. When they go to collect their money Louis is killed by Keegan (Momoa) and after he goes after James he gets more than he bargained for. Officer Taylor Kwon (Kang) comes into town from Washington to investigate the man that James and Louis killed but he wants to people who hired them and attempts to work with James to uncover the truth. Reluctantly they team up

Keegan who has been working for Robert Nkomo Morel (Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Marcus Baptiste (Slater) is set on his next mission who shows us just how much of an efficient killer he is. James & Taylor start their investigation where we get the traditional conflict of styles between a killer and a cop. The odd couple build must try to get to the bottom of who killed their former partners.

Bullet to the Head is one of those films that you know what you are going to get, but saying that we do get a few surprises. On the good guys we don’t get any surprises but how the villains are handled is where the surprises are with shock kills turns and twists. The story itself is easy to follow and never offers anything new to the genre but it didn’t need to. This is easily in the ratings for a relaxaction film and you won’t need to worry about thinking about what will happen next. This is solid but not perfect. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Sylvester Stallone: James Bonomo hit man whose partner is killed by the people who hired them to do the job. He must team up with a cop to get to the bottom of who is responsible. Sylvester made his name in action films where he isn’t the most convincing and this is no different we know what we will get and he delivers what we expect. (7/10)

 sly

Sung Kang: Taylor Kwon Washington cop whose former partner who is killed after dealing with the wrong people. He teams up with James to find the people who hired them for the job. Sung gives a good performance in his opposite mind-set of James. (7/10)

taylor

Sarah Shahi: Lisa James’ daughter who is his go to girl for medical work needed while she is a tattoo artist. Sarah ends up playing the typical damsel in distress. (5/10)

 lisa

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: Robert Nkomo Morel criminal mastermind who has everyone under his thumb with all his business deals. Adewale does a solid job as the criminal business man. (6/10)

 morel

Jason Momoa: Keegan hit man who kills Louis and goes after James but constantly gets foiled in his attempts. Jason is the real star of this film showing his remorseless side when it comes to his kills. (8/10)

 keegan

Christian Slater: Marcus Baptiste second in command who ends up spilling the beans on the plan which leads to James & Taylor having the knowledge on who to take down. Christian plays a solid supporting role. (6/10)

 slater

Support Cast: Bullet to the Head supporting cast is mainly extra people to be killed by both sides.

 

Director Review: Walter Hill – Walter does a good job directing an action film you expect to be watching but nothing special. (7/10)

 

Action: Bullet to the Head has plenty of fights to keep the action flowing nicely. (8/10)

Thriller: Bullet to the Head doesn’t keep you on the edge of your seat like it could but you do want to know the truth. (5/10)

Settings: Bullet to the Head New Orleans makes for a good setting but no scene is really standing out for location. (5/10)

Suggestion: Bullet to the Head is one for the action fans to enjoy, it is simple to follow and doesn’t require any think, just sit back and enjoy. (Action Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Axe fight.

Worst Part: Business villains are boring.

Action Scene Of The Film: The Axe Fight.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Unlikely, but is left open to one.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nope

Box Office: $9.5 Million

Budget: $55 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

Tagline: Revenge never gets old.

 

Overall: Simple Action Thriller

Rating 65