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
When the American servicemen and women who were extras and consultants on the film were told that Oren Moverman had previously served in the Israeli Defense Forces, the director was amusedly surprised when many of them went up to praise him for his service and provided a lot of extra help to the production. Moverman asked one of the soldiers why his background was impressive, and the soldier told him "You're an ally, and your experiences are real." Moverman also noted that while he served his required 3-year military term of conscription in Israel, he is personally anti-war and that he was probably more left-leaning than anyone else on set--except, he laughed, for Woody Harrelson. See more »
Staff Sergeant Montgomery tells the recruiting sergeants in the mall to take a walk, and one of the sergeants replies, "Yes, sir." Only officers are referred to as "sir." A sergeant addressing another sergeant who outranks him would simply say, "Yes, sergeant." See more »
Another gloomy drama depicting what life is like when back home in wartime; this movie features some really great acting performances and a subject that resonates every time very powerfully. The plot hasn't been developed too much, as the story feels more focused on the characters, on their moody and attitudes/emotions. It's about a remarkable direction relying very much on the introspective work of the lead actors. Ben Foster is terrific as a man permanently on the edge, Woody Harrelson excellent as well as one who's crossed the edge already. Impressive is also the approach to heroism, without ever simplifying it and with a strong attention to the story-telling detail. And even though the plot takes a couple of contrived turns, there's a subtle, observant film-making about what's going on inside the characters for a change.
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