Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Messenger

How unfortunate that this film is disappearing all too quickly from theaters. It is a powerful, moving and honest drama with wonderful performances from Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster, and Samantha Morton.

Ben Foster plays Will Montgomery, a solider back from Iraq after being wounded in a firefight. With three months left on his tour of duty, he is assigned to the Casualty Notification Unit reporting to Tony Stone, played by Woody Harrelson. It is the job of these officers to notify the next of kin when a soldier is killed in service. Samantha Morton plays a young mother notified of her husband's death who touches something in Mr. Foster and Steve Buscemi has a moving cameo as a notified parent. On the surface, you might dismiss the plot as too depressing but there is also humor and healing at work here.

Each notification brings it's own special circumstances and as the two men bond, their own emotional layers reveal themselves as they grow closer. The acting is just superb. Ben Foster is no stranger to complex roles and this is easily one of the best things he's ever done. Woody Harrelson caps a busy year of work with a terrific performance and both actors honor the work of the real military personnel who perform this difficult assignment.

This is a deeply affecting story that will linger long after it's over. Don't miss it when it's available on DVD.

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