Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"The Messenger" with Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster with Samantha Morton

Human relationships are complicated affairs. Throw in a war, injury, death, morals and ethical decisions, along with passion, and things can get really dicey. Such is the quandry faced by Will Montgomery, played by Ben Foster, in this soul searching film, which explores an often overlooked facet of war. Who tells the families when their loved ones are not coming home? And how does it affect, and even alter, their own lives?

When Will returns home from Iraq, he is assigned to the Casualty Notification Unit, informing the next of kin that their husbands, sons, daughters, or wives will not be coming home. While still battling his own demons from the war, he must face these new challenges. While working under the command of Captain Tony Stone, played by Woody Harrelson, a hard ass "by the books" officer, Will is tested beyond anything he has ever imagined.

When he is tasked with notifying a woman named Olivia, played by Samantha Morton, that her husband has fallen in combat, the two are drawn to one another. This sets off a battle of ethical and moral proportions, as Will struggles through the pain of what he has been through in war, and the battle he must now face concerning love.

With a great script, credible direction and laudable acting, this is a good, solid film that looks beyond "Rambo", and will have you hurting for all of the people involved. Sometimes life is like that. There are no good guys, there are no bad guys; just people struggling to come to terms with whatever has been thrown at them.

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