The Messenger [Blu-ray]
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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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great! Woody's performance is awesome! This movie was surprisingly well filmed for such a tough and sad subject......Published 1 month ago by Said
Excellent movie. Want to give it 5 stars it's just missing a couple great aspects. Woody harrleson was excellent as always on this movie and the plot line is phenomenal. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Grant.
Exceptional and inspiring movie.... teaches of humanity, emotions and character..Published 3 months ago by Kuku
this film was horrible, the only time I felt emotion was when the N.O.K's were visited, but that Samantha Morton lady CANNOT act - this film was slow moving and she's terrible. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Alana N. Taylor