October 21, 2016

Hot! The Messenger Movie Review

As part of the CMJ Music Festival, I  had the pleasure of attending “The Messenger,” an interesting and touching film directed by Oren Moverman-he also co-wrote the movie along with Alessandro Camon.  The movie essentially offers a different view at war from the people who are most affected by it – the soldiers and their families.  It chronicles the soldiers who have the grim task of delivering death messages to the family members of soldiers who have died in the war.   Did you know there’s such a job? I didn’t and the movie completely opened my eyes.

The movie features two soldiers who deliver death messages. One soldier, Captain Tony Stone and is played by Woody Harrelson, Stone is a “pro” at his job but is an alcoholic, lost, hardened, and yet all his problems make him endearing.  Stone , has the task of training Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery brilliantly played by Ben Foster — Montgomery was choosing to do job three months before he is scheduled to leave the military. Will is intense, emotionally battered and beaten down but still manages to show compassion to the people he has to deliver the messages. He also has been labeled a hero for saving some of his squad mates and Ben Foster does a really job at portraying this conflicted character.  Yet , Will is messed up, and we see him courting Olivia Pitterson (played Samantha Morton) whose husband was killed in war and he had to deliver the message. Messed up, right?  But, in strange way it makes sense. Will is intense and Foster’s  performance tugs at your heart and his heartbreak also kills you.

In the first part of the movie we see The Messengers as they delivering messages.  The myriad of reactions from people from all walks of live are equally unsettling and all leave you sad and emotionally spent.  They don’t get easier to bare but in the midst of all that sadness there’s laughter and feelings of joy.  I really enjoy the movie and I highly recommend the movie.  Whatever side of the war fence you stand this movie doesn’t make you question your stance and it doesn’t make a statement on war itself but it just offers you an insight at people in war living their lives.


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