War is hell, and as shown in the grim and affecting The Messenger (available on DVD 5/18), the suffering doesn’t end away from the battlefield—particularly when it is your job to break the news to soldiers’ next of kin that they’ve been killed in combat.
Ben Foster plays Will Montgomery, a soldier who has returned from Iraq a hero, and who has now been assigned to “Casualty Notification” alongside a seasoned (albeit semi-unhinged) partner (Woody Harrelson). It’s no easy task, and writer-director Oren Moverman deftly and sensitively handles the wide spectrum of emotions (from anger to despair) that are unleashed when the men deliver the bad news, and the protocols (no hugging!) they try–and often fail—to follow. Both actors are fantastic; you’ll understand why Harrelson was nominated for an Oscar. Moverman and his two leads have created a poignant look at how for some, the battle never stops.
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