The Messenger (USA; 105 min.)


directed by:Oren Moverman
starring: Ben Foster; Jena Malone; Eamonn Walker; Woody Harrelson; Yaya DaCosta; Portia; Lisa Joyce
The Messenger
 

Jason says: "THE MESSENGER has no problem with making the audience a little uncomfortable.  What might, in another movie, have been a bittersweet romance between Ben Foster's Will Montgomery (a wounded soldier serving the end of his hitch informing next of kin of death overseas) and Samantha Morton's Olivia Pitterson (a widow and mother who takes the news with surprising calm), feels an awful lot like stalking at first, and even when it starts to feel a little 'right,' acknowledges that it's not really healthy.  Foster is exceptional, a young military man trying his best to hold in pain and confusion, just on the line between someone you root for and someone you worry about.

"And then you've got Woody Harrelson, really knocking his supporting role out of the park.  His Captain Stone tries to approach a job that is corrosive to the soul with precisely controlled professionalism and it leads him to reach out in ways that are both abortive and desperate.  It's pretty close to perfect, a great variation on Foster's performance without duplicating or stealing the show.

"Like a lot of movies more built on character and performance than story, writer/director Oren Moverman has a little trouble figuring out how to end things, but it doesn't come close to tarnishing what Foster and Harrelson do. 4 cats

"Seen 1 December 2009 in Landmark Kendall Square #7 (first-run) "

 
Toni says: "Agreed on the supporting performance of Woody Harrelson in this film.  I thought he was quite good in TRANSSIBERIAN as well…

"As with a number of the films I have seen this year, THE MESSENGER had a strong beginning and I would love to see a short film or doc based on this theme of being a “messenger”…I wonder what would have happened if the film was more focused on the relationship with the 2 men over the Samantha Morton character which felt added on.  I did like THE MESSENGER over all – strong acting. Dialogue, direction…4 cats"

 
Diane says: "Nice perfs all around, but even the best actors could not make their little monologue set pieces seem other than stilted (Ben Foster, Samantha Morton, Steve Buscemi). I'm nom'ing Morton for best supporting. 4 cats.

"I was interested in director Oren Moverman's military experience, and found a good interview here: http://www.filmmakermagazine.com/fall2009/messenger.php"