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The Messenger


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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).

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

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: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (482 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0036RPM8Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,270 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Messenger" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Ron on January 21, 2010
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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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Miles D. Moore VINE VOICE on 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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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Mario Cruz on December 22, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
This is by far the WORST representation of Casualty Affairs and the Notification Process. And I should know. Not only did I go through the training myself at Fort Rucker, AL, I also am a U.S. Army Veteran and an Iraqi War Widow. (The picture included is of my son and I visiting our hero's grave at Arlington National Cemetery.)

I have had the heartbreaking experience of hearing "The Knock" and having two men in Class A uniforms come to my home at 7:00 in the morning to inform me that my beloved husband was killed in action just outside Kirkuk, Iraq. There is so much wrong with this movie, to include the involvement these soldiers had after notification. That isn't how it works, at least not on the Active Duty side of the house. The CNO and a Chaplain notify the family and then they leave. It is set up that the original notification team members do not stay, because they are the ones the family now associates with bringing them the horrific news of their soldier's death. Shortly after notification, the newly assigned CAO (Casualty Assistance Officer) makes contact with the family and they are the ones that will be available 24/7 to help the family through the paperwork, the funeral and entitlements process. Also, a soldier doesn't get assigned this job as a permanent duty. They attend the class and get put on a roster. If, God forbid, a soldier falls, then Casualty Affairs will choose someone from the roster that is the same rank or higher of the fallen soldier to act as CAO. They are then pulled from their unit and regular job and temporarily assigned to the family. Once they have completed everything necessary (in my case it took six months), they return to their unit and regular job.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Carrie Dunham-LaGree on 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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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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