The Messenger (Moverman, 2009)

The Messenger (Oren Moverman, 2009)

Not that they’re close to the same movie, but if I had to choose a preferred war movie from last year, I’d chose this over The Hurt Locker. With both films very obviously addressing the effects of war on soldiers and people surrounding them, The Messenger does a great job of making this about the characters. We watch the ups and downs (mostly downs) of two men, played extremely well by Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson, as they delivery causality messages to fallen soldiers’ next of kin. Instead of culminating in battle, like most war movies, this movie hits its peak when the two go on a weekend drinking binge that results in them attending the rehearsal dinner of an ex-girlfriend while drunk, dirty, and bloody from a fight.

Mixed in is the blossoming relationship between Ben Foster and Samantha Morton’s characters. She is the recipient of news that her husband was killed in combat. The relationship has its moments, but mostly it feels rushed. Perhaps that was the point considering both people involved are looking for an escape from the hurting realities that surround them. Though, it also feels much less ‘forbidden’ than it was supposed to come across as. Overall, this is definitely a very good film, though despite all its good qualities, I still felt it was a bit plain. It wasn’t until the film’s final scene that I had much of any emotional reaction, and of course I don’t want to go into that and spoil the movie.  7.5/10


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