Jeff Labrecque
May 17, 2010 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Messenger

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
105 minutes
Limited Release Date
11/13/09
performer
Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton, Steve Buscemi, Jena Malone
director
Oren Moverman
distributor
Oscilloscope Pictures
author
Oren Moverman
genre
Drama

We gave it a B+

This disquieting tale about two Army officers assigned to notification duty — informing loved ones of soldiers killed in action — doesn’t deliver the adrenaline fix of The Hurt Locker, but it’s just as taut. In The Messenger, First-time director Oren Moverman excavates what he calls the ”emotional landscape of a combat soldier,” with long, intimate takes that pull the audience into a series of unsettling confrontations. Foster’s relentless intensity is countered nicely by Harrelson’s slyly askew, Oscar-nominated portrayal, and Samantha Morton is an angel of grace as a military widow whose dignity captures Foster’s heart. The EXTRAS accent the cast and crew’s esprit de corps, especially in a lively commentary with Moverman, Harrelson, and Foster that reveals the happy accident that made ”Home on the Range” their theme song. B+

See all of this week’s reviews

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