The Messenger

"Excellent"

The Messenger Review


Another dark, gloomy drama about home life during wartime, this film features some seriously great performances and a theme that will resonate powerfully with thoughtful audiences.

Will (Foster) is just out of military hospital after being injured while serving in Iraq; his relationship with his girlfriend (Malone) is strained, and he's not happy about his new assignment informing families about the deaths of loved ones in the warzone. His mentor for the job is the jaded Tony (Harrelson), who survives by maintaining his distance from the families: "Don't touch the NOK" (next of kin), he tells Will. But Will can't help but reach out to them, and one widow (Morton) makes a particularly strong impression on him.

There isn't much of a plot, so the film feels more like a fable. But this means that it's finely focussed on the characters, echoing their moody, nervous attitudes in the textured camerawork and emotional underscore. It's a remarkable directing debut for writer Moverman, and it gives the actors the space to do some powerfully introspective work. Both Foster and Harrelson give the best performances of their careers as two guys who have been changed by war ("you can't unsee the s**t") and are surprised to find themselves learning from each other.

Foster is terrific as a man who's precariously on the edge, a decorated war hero sidelined on the "angel of death detail" and given a beeper. Harrelson brings a remarkably fragile steeliness to Tony, using gallows humour to cover this sly but hollow man's internal anguish. "There's no such thing as a satisfied customer," he says, with a mixture of cynicism and pathos. And Morton is also excellent as one grieving survivor we follow beyond the doorstep.

What's most impressive about this film is the grown-up approach it takes to both bereavement and heroism, looking at death straight-on without sentimentalising or simplifying it. While many scenes are unbearably sad, they also maintain a respectful stillness and underlying wit, plus a strong attention to telling detail. And even if the plot takes a couple of contrived turns, this is subtle, observant filmmaking about what's going on inside the characters for a change.



The Messenger

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 113 mins

In Theaters: Friday 19th February 2010

Box Office USA: $1.0M

Box Office Worldwide: $592.4 thousand

Distributed by: Oscilloscope Pictures

Production compaines: Oscilloscope Laboratories

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Fresh: 140 Rotten: 16

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Gwen Bialic, Benjamin Goldhirsh,

Starring: as Will Montgomery, as Tony Stone, as Kelly, as Stuart Dorsett, as Olivia Pitterson, as Dale Martin, Dale Soules as Cashier, Stevie Ray Dallimore as Kelly's Father, as Alan, Marceline Hugot as Mrs. Flanigan, Lindsay Michelle Nader as Claire

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.