[Last Film I Saw] The Messenger (2009) [8/10]

The Messenger poster

Title: The Messenger
Year: 2009
Language: English
Country: USA
Genre: Drama, War
Director: Oren Moverman
Writers:
Alessandro Camon
Oren Moverman
Cast:
Ben Foster
Woody Harrelson
Samantha Morton
Jena Malone
Jahmir Duran-Abreau
Lisa Joyce
Steve Buscemi
Eamonn Walker
Yaya DaCosta
Halley Feiffer
Peter Friedman
Portia
Merritt Wever
Rating: 8/10

Even securing Hollywood veteran Woody Harrelson his second Oscar nomination, the film has eluded me until now, and a long overdue viewing proves it is an overlooked gem on the recent war-trauma film list.

The breakthrough effort of the film is its one-of-a-kind perspective, with zero scenes from the violent frontline (including the usual gambit of fly-on-the-wall clips), the modus operandi aims at the ominous casualty notification soldiers and one theatrical oomph originates from the various poignant reactions from the next-of-kins of dead soldiers in Iraq when they are being notified, a faintly tricky scheme to gain the empathy towards both the film and its main characters, which is a laudable feat and very operative due to a splendid cast and unostentatious script (the formality of notification is swell written).

Budding as one of the versatile young actors in Hollywood, Ben Foster excels in his not-so-frequent leading role as an ostensible war-hero plagued by a hidden secret, typifies ideally a post-war anguish-tortured individual. Foster generates a magnificent screen chemistry both with his tutor-cum-friend Woody Harrelson (a well-developed supporting role as Foster’s superior captain, whose behind-the-scene background story is finely underlined by Harrelson’s scene-stealing faculty) and with a never-disheartening Samantha Morton, the paragraph when Morton unravels her inner affection and grief to Foster in her home is a total tour-de-force.

So, the war-blasting viewpoint has been established in both cases with its direct victims potently (soldiers and their families), all the proofs are indisputable, and for majority of its audience who has no mighty to change any political imbroglio towards warfare, the film at least hardens the determination of respecting each individual in a more altruistic way and maybe the world will get better day by day.

Oscar 2009 - The Messenger

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