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The Messenger (2010)

A 2009 independent film starring Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson

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A Must-See that will stay with you forever

  • May 16, 2010
If you saw Black Hawk Down and The Hurt Locker you might have gotten an idea of modern warfare - what the Soldiers are going through on a daily basis. Although Hollywood made, these films do not glorify the violence or the people; they just get you there.
Of course watching a movie - that is any movie - is nothing close to the real thing. But at least some films try to transmit an accurate picture of the situation, including the angst, shock, anger, and demonstrate the professionalism that so often is the Soldiers' only way out.

This one takes the war home, into the living rooms of the family members, lovers and children of the men and women who will never return.
No guns or battles, just pain and shock - but just as dramatic as the two previously mentioned. And just like them it shows us a part of the war most of us don't know anything about. Magazine articles, TV news and what not - nothing comes close to the scenes we're shown here where families are destroyed and lives forever changed.
I feel we need to watch this, each and every one of us, so we better understand the next time we talk about war.

Without the Army's framework, Woody Harrelson's character would probably have ended up on the wrong side of the road. Married three times, AA, frustrated about having missed out on the real battle experience, it's his job to deliver the horrible message. He get's Ben Foster put to his side as a partner. A War-hero with his own demons to fight.
Sure, this is a fictional tale, with the characters' personalities adding to the drama. But with the excellent camera work and the fabulous script the story hits home from the first scene on.
And when you think it's boring to watch these men deliver their message over and over again - think again. These two actors - and the others - are perfectly cast with each of them delivering award worthy performances of the highest order.

The Blu-ray comes packed in a plastic-free box and includes the dvd version on a separate disc. Another plus: the disc loads and there are no disturbing commercials or other previews messing with the experience. Press play and the film "rolls".
The picture is crisp and very detailed. A few night scenes lack depth in the blacks (didn't disturb me much) but all in all it's a great disc.

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September 30, 2010
This does sound realistic, Andre. Thanks for such an in-depth accounting of this movie. Good job, as always. :-)
More The Messenger reviews
review by . February 26, 2010
Coming Through Loud and Clear
 THE MESSENGER Written by Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman   Directed by Oren Moverman   Starring Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson and Samantha Morton Dale Martin: Why are you here?  Why aren’t you dead? THE MESSENGER opens on an eye.  This is an eye that has clearly been through difficult terrain and has seen its fair share of unnecessary horror.  Its sadness and despair hang in its pupil, weighting in down as the tears inevitably fall from the corners.  …
Quick Tip by . July 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Go see this movie! Ben Foster is incredible. Woody is incredible. This movie is incredible.
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Started off strong, and was really good until about 3/4 way through.. then suddenly went totally down hill with bad dialogue and lame plot developments. It was like the writers just abruptly stopped trying. Enjoyed Woody's character for the most par though - very strong in the first half anyway.
Quick Tip by . June 23, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
An excellent character study that looks at the lives of the men whose duty it is to inform families that their loved ones have been killed while enlisted. Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson give nuanced and powerful performances.
review by . May 23, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
THE MESSENGER, even from the 'impersonal' title choice, places the complete picture of the emotional devastation that wars create. The horrors and psychological destruction that occur on the battlefield and in the trenches awaiting encounter are only one aspect of the insanity of war. The afterburn - the effects on returning soldiers permanently damaged by the experience as well as the effects on families and loved ones who have wither been completely killed in action or simply damaged at time beyond …
About the reviewer
Andre Heeger ()
Ranked #400
I love stories in all form. Painting, film, comics, books, music - anything. Also sculpture, more the classic kind from ROman, Greek onward until I need to read so I might understand what I am supposed … more
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If the army has a second-worst job (it goes without saying that combat is by far the scariest and most horrific), it has to be the one depicted in director-cowriter Oren Moverman'sThe Messenger, which draws us into the lives of the soldiers whose grim duty it is to inform next of kin that a loved one has died in the conflict in Iraq. Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery (Ben Foster, best known for his recurring role inSix Feet Under) has just returned home, injured, decorated as a hero for saving several other soldiers, and only three months from being discharged, when he is assigned to Casualty Notification (described by his commanding officer as "a sacred mission"). Paired with Captain Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson), a tightly wound, by-the-book veteran, Will soon discovers just how excruciating their job is, as a series of wrenchingly powerful scenes shows them delivering the worst possible news to spouses, parents, and others. The responses vary--stunned disbelief, weeping hysterics, becoming physically ill, even spitting in Will's face--but when Stone and Montgomery encounter Olivia (Samantha Morton), her reaction to being told she is now a widow is so dignified that Will, whose girlfriend (Jena Malone) found another man while he was at war, starts to quietly court her, in defiance of strict army regulations. The acting by those in both major and minor roles is uniformly excellent. Foster and Morton's scenes together are tender, tentative, and poignant ...
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Director: Oren Moverman
DVD Release Date: May 18, 2010
Runtime: 118 minutes
Studio: Oscilloscope Laboratories
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