Year of release: 2009
Director: Oren Moverman
Stars: Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton, Jena Malone, Steve Buscemi, Brendan Sexton III
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
Synopsis:Oren Moverman's directorial debut follows the story of a sergeant from the army, a war hero who is assigned a new position, while recovering from war wounds. Will Montgomery joins a veteran captain in a position that is basically giving the news that soldiers have passed away to their respective families. While giving the news to a young wife of a deceased soldier, Will connects to this woman, much to the disbelief of his captain.
Oren Moverman initially carved a name for himself as a screenwriter of independent films such as Alison Maclean's "Jesus' Son" and Todd Haynes' "I'm not There". "The Messenger", which made it's debut at the Sundance Film Festival, is a film that tries to show a realistic approach towards the way war affects people's lives and relationships. Will Montgomery is a young man whose life has been forever affected by what he experienced in war and is finding it difficult to connect to a civilian life that has moved along without him. On the other spectrum his captain, has on the surface learnt to deal with the pain and suffering that comes from war and navigates on auto pilot through life and people. However these two men end up colliding in (un)expected ways. Oren Moverman's film is an interesting exploration of a familiar theme, but doesn't really showcase anything that hasn't been seen before. Where it does provide a different glimpse is in it's actors powerful performances, particularly Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson (who is seriously getting typecast as the regular repulsive and misogynistic with a heart of gold). Interestingly enough, films like "Deer Hunter" and "Coming Home" dealt with similar issues, but relating to different wars. It's interesting to compare them all.