The Messenger

0
0
Subscribe to Ben Foster alerts

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: Ben Foster as Will Montgomery, Woody Harrelson as Tony Stone, Jena Malone as Kelly, Eamonn Walker as Stuart Dorsett, Samantha Morton as Olivia Pitterson, Steve Buscemi as Dale Martin, Dale Soules as Cashier, Stevie Ray Dallimore as Kelly's Father, Michael Chernus as Alan, Marceline Hugot as Mrs. Flanigan, Lindsay Michelle Nader as Claire

The Messenger Movie 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.


Contactmusic

0
0
Subscribe to Ben Foster alerts

Comments

The Messenger Rating

" Excellent "

Advertisement

More Ben Foster

A Little Chaos Trailer

In the palace of Versailles, a tremendous garden is maintained. One day, the builder and head gardener sees an ordinary woman arriving at the palace,...

Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy Album Review

The solo career of Mr Rice is not one you may realistically describe as that with which you may associate a prolific output. His is...

Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You're Made Of Trailer

In the late 90's and early 00's, The Backstreet Boys were the most powerful boy band in the world. After discovering that they had not...

George The Poet - 1,2,1,2 (Dismantle Remix) Video

George The Poet unveils an audio for the Dismantle Remix of his single '1,2,1,2', taken from the tracks Remixes EP. The track has been produced...

Advertisement

Perfume Genius - Too Bright Album Review

Ever since the release of his debut LP 'Learning' back in 2010, Seattle's Perfume Genius has attracted increasing attention both publicly and critically. His piano...

The Boys of St. Paul's Choir School - O Come All Ye Faithful Video

The angelic voices of The Boys of St. Paul's Choir School perform a moving rendition of classic Christmas carol 'O Come All Ye Faithful'.

Jamie Scott - Last Christmas Video

Jamie Scott of London duo GRAFFITI6 performs an acoustic rendition of Wham!'s 1984 festive single 'Last Christmas' in a black and white one-take video. In...

Christina Aguilera Ft. Brian McKnight - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Video

In 2000, Christina Aguilera recorded a collection of some of her favourite Christmas songs and the sessions resulted in the album 'My Kind of Christmas',...

Advertisement