The Messenger movie review: On the other side of the spectrum is Oren Moverman's is-but-it-isn't Iraq War drama The Messenger, a tough to watch but worth it film focusing on a profession I can't recall seeing portrayed much in film. As expected, it's an acting clinic, with award-worthy performances from leads Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster (compiling an awesome resume) and supporter Samantha Morton.
Foster's an injured hero just returned from Iraq who's having a hard time adjusting to that tag, along with life back in the states. Harrelson is the commanding officer he's assigned to, working as the next of kin notifiers of deceased soldiers.
Messenger treads some familiar ground, from post-traumatic stress disorder to the loss of loved ones, but little thought is usually given to the emotions and treatment the casualty notification officers are forced to endure. Additionally, the handful of scenes where they deliver the bad news are fresh and unpredictable spontaneous, something few films can offer these days. If the Best Supporting Actor category had ballooned to ten nominees as well, I wouldn't be shocked to see a nod to Steve Buscemi as a distraught father; as is, his role (and this film) is too small.
Box office: In North America, The Messenger opened in limited release, and so far the film has grossed $1,109,660. With a foreign gross of $302,731, The Messenger has achieved a worldwide gross of $1,412,391.
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