Messenger

Messenger

4.5 2
Director: Oren Moverman

Cast: Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton

     
 

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An Iraq War veteran who just narrowly escaped death in combat struggles with his new post at the Casualty Notification Office while anticipating his upcoming discharge in this military drama starring Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, Jena Malone, and Samantha Morton. Will Montgomery (Foster) has spent his fair share of time in army hospitals, and with just three months to… See more details below

Overview

An Iraq War veteran who just narrowly escaped death in combat struggles with his new post at the Casualty Notification Office while anticipating his upcoming discharge in this military drama starring Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, Jena Malone, and Samantha Morton. Will Montgomery (Foster) has spent his fair share of time in army hospitals, and with just three months to go before returning to civilian life, he discovers that his girlfriend back home (Malone) has decided to move on with her life. Crestfallen, Will discovers that his latest hope for a fresh start will be training to work for the Casualty Notification Office under the mentorship of senior officer Tony (Harrelson). As someone who had a close brush with death himself, Will isn't sure that he's the man to tell families that their own loved ones will never be coming home. Thankfully, in between his assignments, Tony offers a sympathetic ear and the two men form a bond that will ultimately help them to readjust to "normal" life. But once you've been in the thick of it, any true hope for a "normal" life after the military is just wishful thinking. Later, Will is drawn to the grieving widow (Morton) of a fallen soldier, a development that forces him to ponder the ethical dilemma of starting a relationship with a woman in such a vulnerable position.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
With The Messenger, first-time director Oren Moverman has crafted a film that goes beyond the narrative of the traditional war movie. Rather than focusing on fighting or even the politics of the fiercely debated war in Iraq, this script centers on grief, recovery, and relationships. Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma) gives a raw, real performance as Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery, a soldier who was injured in Iraq. With a few months left in his tour of duty, Will is assigned to work under Captain Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson, No Country for Old Men). Stone is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm and a member of the army's Casualty Notification division. Together, the men have the difficult mission of telling people of their loved ones' deaths, a job fraught with tension and tears. Each notification brings new challenges to the newcomer and his more experienced superior, but Will also struggles with his own adjustments to life after combat. He forges a connection with a recently widowed woman, Olivia (Samantha Morton, In America), and his friendship with Tony also serves as an anchor in his new life. Moverman's previous work as a screenwriter has ranged from the audacious (I'm Not There) to the average (Married Life), but this script -- a collaboration with producer Alessandro Camon -- never feels anything less than authentic. Each new notification brings an opportunity for tears, both onscreen and in the audience, but it is always moving and never manipulative. The writers deserve plenty of praise, but lesser actors could have marred the script's strength. Foster has proven his chameleon-like abilities in past works, from Alpha Dog to Six Feet Under, but The Messenger allows him to reveal even more emotion without ever being showy. Harrelson has impressive moments of intensity, but his character's wry humor gives a respite from the tragedies that make up Tony's and Will's lives. As next of kin notified by the men, Morton and Steve Buscemi are heartbreaking to watch. The film has a naturalistic feel, hearkening back to the war films of the 1970s, such as the Oscar winner Coming Home, but it never comments on the validity of the war itself. Though The Messenger boasts approval from the army and input from individual soldiers, it somehow manages to remain surprisingly neutral in its stance on war. It's more about people than politics, and the fine script makes it an intensely personal viewing experience.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/18/2010
UPC:
0896602002982
Original Release:
2009
Rating:
R
Source:
Oscilloscope
Region Code:
ABC
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
1:52:00
Sales rank:
52,378

Special Features

Notification; Audio commentary with Oren Moverman, Lawrence Inglee, Ben Foster, and Woody Harrelson; Going HOme; Variety screening seris Q&A with Oren Moverman, Woody Harrelson, Alessandro Camon, Lawrence Inglee, Ben Foster, and Bobby Bukowski; The Messenger shooting script

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ben Foster Staff Sgt. Will Montgomery
Woody Harrelson Capt. Tony Stone
Samantha Morton Olivia Pitterson
Jena Malone Kelly
Steve Buscemi Dale Martin
Eamonn Walker Col. Stuart Dorsett

Technical Credits
Oren Moverman Director,Screenwriter
Alex Hall Editor
Steffen Aumüller Executive Producer
Stephen Beatrice Production Designer
Javier Bennassar Sound/Sound Designer
Gwen Bialic Co-producer
Bobby Bukowski Cinematographer
Alessandro Camon Screenwriter
Claus Clausen Executive Producer
Ali Farrell Casting
Catherine George Costumes/Costume Designer
Ben Goldhirsh Executive Producer
Mark Gordon Producer
Lawrence Inglee Producer
Nathan Larson Score Composer
Christopher Mapp Executive Producer
Tracy McKnight Musical Direction/Supervision
Zach Miller Producer
Shaun Redick Executive Producer
Laura Rosenthal Casting
Leslie Shatz Sound/Sound Designer
Glenn M. Stewart Executive Producer
Matthew Street Executive Producer
David Whealy Executive Producer
Bryan Zuriff Executive Producer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Messenger
1. Kelly [5:24]
2. Men of Solid Stature [6:35]
3. Private First Class Leroy Burrell [6:46]
4. "I Got My Baptism Too" [6:42]
5. Specialist Eric Martin [8:23]
6. Phil [5:18]
7. Ice, Hot Water, Lemon [3:18]
8. Olivia and Will [4:59]
9. Corporal Mario Galindo [7:15]
10. Private Patricia Vasquez [4:03]
11. Pizza and Broccoli [:24]
12. Widow's Story [5:08]
13. Walton Flanigan [8:16]
14. R & R [5:41]
15. Crashing the Party [6:04]
16. Will in Iraq [9:17]
17. "I'll Write You a Letter" [9:53]
18. End Credits [3:28]

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