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The Messenger

Updated on April 15, 2011

A film about the trials and tribulations of the current situation our nation faces

First "Hurt Locker" affected viewers as it showed the harsh realities of the current war in Iraq, but "The Messenger" shows the harsh realities of how it affects the loved ones back home. Notably, in the case of main protagonist, those who survive to tell about it. Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery (Ben Foster) is recently assigned to the Army's Casualty Notification service, which informs families and loved ones about the loss of fallen soldiers fighting, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Aided by his superior officer, Captain Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson), whom has a tendency to be blunt and follows a "by the book" philosophy, he also provides the main protagonist with a sense of guidance and direction in key scenes. Of course, along the way, Will meets widow, Olivia Pitterson (Samantha Morton), of one of the fallen officers he has to report about to her. Having fallen for her, Will succumbs to many ethical dilemmas that affect him as he dates her. Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson were great in this film, as both actors played out their parts perfectly. Oren Moverman does a spectacular job creating tension in each scene, as the viewer is able to see the protagonist grow throughout the film emotionally and psychologically. "The Messenger" is truly one of the best dramas I've seen in years; I highly recommend it.

Woody Harrelson gives probably the best performance of his career, as he plays the tough as nails Captain when it comes to duty, but knows how to cut loose at the bar scenes. Out of all the films I've ever seen him in, this one shows probably the most versatility of his acting chops. Playing a richly deep character that helps guide Will during the story. The only flaw about his character is, as deep as he was in key scenes, they never tell you everything about his story. Which is a shame because this was Woody's best performance since "The People Vs. Larry Flynt."

However, that's not to say that Ben Foster is no slouch either. He does a excellent job portraying a soldier, whom everyone presumes to be a hero for surviving the war in Iraq, while seeking comfort and healing back home. Sadly, when he falls in love with a widow named Olivia, this causes many moral and ethical dilemmas for our protagonist as he deals with the aftermath of surviving the war. At the beginning of the film, Will was portrayed as a strong character with a strong sense of honor and duty yet as the film goes on, the audience is able to see just how truly vulnerable Will is inside as he deals with the emotional pain.

Indeed, this film touches on many unique and interesting aspects about the current war in Iraq back on the home front. Displaying how peoples' lives are touched by the aftermath, casualty and survival of war each day. Although the film is less than two hours long, the experience and message this film delivers will stick with the viewer long after it's over. The film's primary strengths rely when it focuses on a smaller scale on how each family reacts to the harsh and bitter news. Illustrating deep sense of sorrow and frustration over the loss of loved ones.

"The Messenger" is definitely one of the best films of the year. Featuring strong performances and a great story, this film exceeds all expectations. A movie that speaks true about survival, portrait of human grief, and relationships. Truly one of the must see films of the year by far.


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    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Steven Escareno 

      8 years ago

      Yeah, I agree with you there. I think the film's best scenes were when it got on a more intimate smaller scale as it showed each of the loved one's reaction to the sad news, and how the characters evolved throughout the film.

    • theageofcake profile image

      theageofcake 

      8 years ago from MA

      Good review.

      This movie depicted a strong understanding of human relationships, as you've discussed. I liked the sort of push and pull tension between Ben Foster and Samantha Morton's respective characters; it felt quite genuine, as did the responses of the families informed of their dead loved ones.

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