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The Messenger (2010)

Woody Harrelson , Ben Foster , Oren Moverman  |  R |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster, Samantha Morton, Jena Malone
  • Directors: Oren Moverman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Oscilloscope Laboratories
  • DVD Release Date: May 18, 2010
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0036RPM8Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,222 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Messenger" on IMDb

Special Features

"Notification": A documentary about U.S. Army Casualty Notification Officers and the families of fallen soldiers by Joe Kelly and John Vernon
Audio commentary with Oren Moverman, Lawrence Inglee, Ben Foster, and Woody Harrelson
"Going Home": Reflections from the set
"Variety" Screening Series Q& A with Oren Moverman, Woody Harrelson, Alessandro Camon, Lawrence Inglee, Ben Foster, and Bobby Bukowski
"The Messenger" shooting script

Editorial Reviews

Partnered with a hard-line officer Tony Stone (Academy Awardr Nominee Woody Harrelson), Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma) plays a battle-scarred war hero home from Iraq and newly assigned to the Army's Casualty Notification service. He faces this formidable mission while seeking comfort and healing back on the home front when he falls for the wife of a fallen soldier (2-Time Academy Award nominee Samantha Morton).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why is this film overlooked by critics and awards? January 21, 2010
By Ron
With the exception of Woody Harrelson getting nominated for Best Supporting Actor, THE MESSENGER has not been getting the attention that it deserves from the critics and awards. This is the film that should've been nominated for Best Picture (Drama) by the Golden Globe Awards. This is the film that should've been nominated for Best Picture by the Broadcast Film Critics Awards. With the exception of the Independent Spirit Awards, THE MESSENGER is being grossly overlooked. I think it may be because it is not released by a major distributor. And it is overshadowed by THE HURT LOCKER. To tell you the truth, I have seen both films, and I'll take THE MESSENGER over THE HURT LOCKER anyday. THE HURT LOCKER was more suspenseful, but THE MESSENGER did a much better job examining the human condition from both the soldiers and the civilians' point of view. In a way it reminded me of a contemporary version of ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT because it depicted the horrors of the war, and the effects that it had on both the soldiers and their loved ones. I highly recommend this film. It is one of the best films of 2009. One last thing--it is about time Woody Harrelson wins an Oscar for his performance as an actor. He is incredible in this film.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless, powerful, deeply moving. December 20, 2009
I have seldom seen a more moving or seamless antiwar film than Oren Moverman's "The Messenger." Its Iraq War theme makes it absolutely up to the minute, yet its portrayal of the raw grief that war creates echoes throughout human history. In some ways, "The Messenger" serves as a companion piece to Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker." "The Hurt Locker" portrays the effect of the Iraq War on combat soldiers; "The Messenger" concentrates more on its effect on the loved ones waiting at home.

Ben Foster, who was so excellent in "3:10 to Yuma" and "Six Feet Under," exceeds even those achievements as Sgt. Will Montgomery, an Iraq War soldier recovering from grievous physical and psychic wounds who receives the unwelcome assignment of notifying the survivors of soldiers killed in action. Making the assignment even harder is Capt. Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson), a hard-nosed military lifer who commands Montgomery to stick to the script: never touch a survivor, and never express more than the most perfunctory sympathy. Stone, a recovering alcoholic, has his own problems: a veteran of the First Persian Gulf War, he never saw any combat worth the name, and suffers a world of guilt he tries to hide by playing the martinet and chasing every skirt he sees. Meanwhile, Montgomery, who has been jilted by his high-school sweetheart (Jena Malone), starts to develop feelings--totally against the rules--for a young military widow (Samantha Morton).

Featuring sharp dialogue and brilliant performances (including one by Steve Buscemi as the father of a fallen soldier), "The Messenger" is a powerfully moving cinematic experience.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best modern war film I've seen March 4, 2010
Format:DVD
The Messenger is the story of Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery, played by Ben Foster, a wounded soldier who has returned to the base and is placed on the notification team until the time of his discharge. Colonol Dorsett, played by Woody Harrelson in his best performance to date, shows him the ropes. The two are an unlikely duo, and despite both being combat veterans (Dorsett in Desert Storm), this assignment provides a very different stress. The two soldiers are on call every hour of every day. When a soldier dies, they race to notify the family before they hear about their love one's death somewhere else. Given their unique jobs, they spend more and more of their time together even when they're not working.

The extended supporting cast members of this film are amazing. Their notifications are met with a variety of results, as we all process grief and shock differently. The supporting actors and actresses have one scene to deliver their messages of despair and grief. The film is a fascinating look into the human psyche, and it's the best war movie I've ever seen. It's a deep, thoughtful, uncomfortable look at the effects of war on individuals. Woody Harrelson was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, but I'm surprised Samantha Morton was not nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

The Messenger is not always an easy film to watch, but it's well worth the time. It's not a movie I want to watch over and over again, but it a film I will buy and watch once every year or two. Mostly, I'll pass along my dvd to anyone who will watch it. Everyone has jumped on The Hurt Locker bandwagon, but The Messenger is a better film. It's smarter, more nuanced and a more fascinating look at this war. I was surprised when it wasn't nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. There's no question it is one of the five best films of the year.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully observed and realized human drama January 14, 2011
Format:DVD
You think your job`s bad? Imagine being Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery (Ben Foster), whose duty it is to deliver death notices to the families and loved ones of soldiers killed in action. With just three months of active duty left before he's honorably discharged from the service, this decorated war hero has been placed under the tutelage of Captain Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson), who's been doing this sort of thing for so long now that it has become almost - but not quite - routine. Things become complicated, however, when Will becomes romantically attracted to Olivia Pitterson (Samantha Morgan), one of the young widows to whom he relates the shattering news. But the real focus is on the conflict and uneasy friendship between the by-the-book, struggling alcoholic Stone, who harbors a certain degree of guilt for never having actually served in battle, and the moody, sensitive, and slightly shell-shocked Will who's seen more blood-soaked action than he cares to think about. Yet, neither is a stereotype, for each is a complex individual dealing in his own way with the traumatizing effects of war - be it on the home front or on the field of battle.

"Less is more" is the defining principle of "The Messenger," a vivid and powerful movie that understands that there is often more drama in what is left unsaid than what is actually spoken. Everything that occurs in the film seems to happen beneath the surface, as each of the characters tries to put up a brave front even when lives and souls are being torn asunder right before their eyes. Screenwriters Oren Moverman and Alessandro Camon are not afraid to give each scene its due, even if that means letting it play out at great length or having the characters fumble in their efforts to articulate what it is they're trying to say.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Less is More In This One. Powerful performances
I was surprised by Woody Harrelson's powerful performance (bravo Woody) and Ben Foster was as brilliant with his more restrained performance. This is a character driven story. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Holly
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie - a must see!
This is an excellent movie. I actually sat and watched the entire movie. Usually I am up doing this or that. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Cole
4.0 out of 5 stars The Messenger: Powerful portrait of American military men affected by...
This deeply felt story of the human cost of war from a modern day perspective drains the energy of the viewer from the very beginning to the end of the story. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Hawkeye
4.0 out of 5 stars A Worthy Subject
Most of us probably never give much thought to the soldiers that have to look people in the eye and tell them their 20 year old son or husband just died that day. Read more
Published 6 months ago by mr. contrarian
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch- in the same category as "The Last Detail" by Robert Towne...
This movie deals with real raw and powerful emotions and the most profound issues of death, grief, loss, and the meaning of life, love and grief and death. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Murrell R. Morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars watched the movie on hulu
love it, works well, great price, watched it on hulu, wanted to ownit, was glad amazon had it for a great deal.
Published 7 months ago by Bonnie Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Moving
Really portrays the part of all the services' informant units and reactions of families. Steve Buscemi does an amazing job acting the part of a KIA soldier's father and if I hadn't... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jaylen Paul Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Another must see movie
As a parent of a soldier this movie really hit home for me. This is another must see movie that I would recommend.
Published 11 months ago by Castleberry01
4.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars if young people could watch w/o sex scenes.
I concur with others that this is a great movie covering a little-known aspect of military life..and death. Read more
Published 12 months ago by John S. Socha
4.0 out of 5 stars Duties and humanity
Daily routine of the American military personnel informing families of their loved deceased during service, in Iraq and Afghanistan particularly, is emotionally-charged while... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Michael Kerjman
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DVD cover... ugly as hell
This is a removable slip cover with a much nicer slipcase underneath.
May 19, 2010 by D. Berger |  See all 4 posts
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