The Messenger

2 02 2010

Gets my vote for the most depressing movie of the year.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but there it is.  The story follows a pair of soldiers who have been assigned to the Army’s “casualty notification service,” and so yes, they travel from house to house informing family members of a soldier’s death.  Scene after scene parents and/or wives break down in sadness, and when our two main characters aren’t on the job, they’re battling depression.  It’s almost too much to stomach.

The film would probably be completely unbearable if it weren’t for the understated direction from Oren Moverman and the great chemistry between Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson.  As overwhelming as the grief on screen can be, it never goes too far over-the-top.  The score (or lack thereof), direction, and lead performances are all low-key enough to keep it from blowing-up into a huge melodramatic production.  The subtle approach to such in-your-face material makes the film work.

I’d say that if you often find yourself complaining that your job is too tough, see this.

RATING:  7/10



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