Movie Review: The Messenger

When a split second can change a person's life for ever, how do we adapt to the change? In February 2010, one second changed Will's life, and he's still trying to adapt.

Directing this 113 minute drama/romance/war is Oren Moverman.

Ben Foster as Staff Sergent Will Montgomery, Woody Harrelson as Captain Tony Stone, Jena Malone as Kelly and Samantha Morton as Olivia Pitterson. With appearances by Steve Buscemi as Dale Martin and Eamonn Walker as Colonel Stuart Dorsett.

Due to an injury to his eye and leg, Staff Sergent Will Montgomery gets reassigned to the Casualty Notification Team to finish out the few months he has left in his enlistment. Not having the background for this field, Will doesn't feel he is right for the job. Captain Tony Stone is partnered with Will to teach him the protocols of the job. Tony gives Will his training by going straight to work. After delivering the news to a family of their loose, Will quickly realizes even more so that he's not prepared to do this job. Still, Tony keeps pushing Will, trying to get him to understand the importance of their job. What it means to bring this news to the family before they find out from the news or other means. Even after all the reactions Will's witnessed since starting this  job, nothing prepared him for how Olivia reacted.

This was a hard movie to watch at times. Watching Harrelson and Foster deliver such painful news to families that someone they loved had died, mixed with the reactions from the families was heart breaking. Yet it showed great skill on the part of the cast. With a sad but good storyline, you get a good mix of Foster's character through the movie, between his personal life and work. The playthrough was really good and entertaining. It shows what it takes to do this kind of job, and how easy it is to take your work home with you. Knowing the next phone call you get means you're about to ruin someones day. As good as the movie is, it does slow down here and there. So just as it started rolling it would change scenes and it would have to start back up again. Not that it hurt the overall of the movie, but it was a noticeable wrinkle in the playthrough. Maybe that was supposed to be the emotional carnage the character was going through... maybe? If it was, it didn't transfer over to me as the viewer. Either way, this is a good flick with a great cast and a solid story.

It's rated R for language and nudity.

3 stars

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