While on a recent deployment to Iraq, US Army Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery is injured when an improvised explosive device goes off within close proximity to him. He is back in the States recovering from the more serious of those injuries, including one to his eye and leg. He has resumed a sexual relationship with his long time girlfriend Kelly, despite the fact that she is now engaged to another man who Will knows. With the few months Will has left in his enlistment, the army assigns him to the Casualty Notification Team in his area. Not having a background in counseling, psychology or grief management, he is unsure if he is well suited to this job. He is partnered with a career soldier, Captain Tony Stone, who teaches Will the precise protocol involved in the job. Tony tells Will, who quickly learns by on the job experience, that this job has its own dangers. As Will learns to adapt to the range of emotions of the next of kin, he is unprepared for the reaction of Olivia Pitterson, ... Written by
Director Oren Moverman had wanted to have a scene with Will and Tony singing a song but couldn't decide which song to sing, and settled on Home on the Range after hearing the song being played from an ice cream truck while scouting locations. This is then paid homage to after Will's first notification when he's sitting in Will's car and an ice cream truck passes by playing Home on the Range. See more »
Captain Stone claims to have served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, but does not have a "combat patch" on his right shoulder. See more »
Captain Tony Stone:
You gotta wake the fuck up! You're not in high school, you're not in a fuckin' rock band, you're in the Army.
Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery:
Yeah, I know. I know I'm in the Army. I gave blood to the Army. I got blown up in a fire-fight that lasted longer than your entire war. I didn't sunbath in Kuwait with the rest of the POGs.
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An Emotional Look Into the Psychological Effects of War
The Messenger has incredible acting by Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, and Samantha Morton.
The film has a curious flow to it. It begins predictable, yet remains engaging, exposing a heart-breaking consequence of war no family wants to face. Although the news remains the same, emotions run just as deep at each door. Every scene is handled marvelously through subtle performances by the actors. As the film unfolds, the viewer sinks into the complex characters on screen, discomforted by the internal struggles that slowly surface.
The Messenger is a non-linear, character-driven film with exceptional performances but might not be for everyone.
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