1. The Messenger tells a profound and simple story of two different US Army men who have the responsibility of notifying the next of kin of the death of Army soldiers within a short period of time after their death. The moment of telling families of death is something that has appeared in other films, but I've never seen a film with this central plot concept.
2. This film, while warranting some discussion about politics and the current war in Iraq and Afghanistan is not an overly politicized message film that speaks for-or-against our current war in any strong ways that I would expect people to find offensive. The story is too personal in it's scope to let those bigger polarizing ideas taint this film.
3. Ben Foster's performance is subtle, and while at first I wasn't sure if it was worth the hype as you get into the film his performance as Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery only improves.
4. The praise for Woody Harrelson in the role of Captain Tony Stone is absolutely warranted. He was incredible, convincing, and moving in a realistic way.
5. I am a fan of Samantha Morton, and think she's one of the best actresses working today. Her performance in this film is good, it warrants what is asked. I don't think she will be showered with awards for this performance, more because of the scope of the role, not the way the role is handled.
6. There's a wedding party scene that rivals the anxiety that is felt by the similar scene in Rachel Getting Married.
7. There's a couple sex scenes in the film that while could arguably have a purpose in describing the character and emotional connection to certain people, but I personally would have enjoyed the movie more if these scenes were tamed down.
8. I didn't know about the Steve Buscemi's role in the film, it's small, but well played. The role was perfect for Buscemi.
9. You can imagine that every experience that these men have telling people about the death of their next of kin is unique, and waiting to see what emotion will be exhibited by the families and next of kin is powerful in it's own ways. In this regard the film tells a very human story.
10. If this film has any sort of popular or critical success I think this might be the start of director/screenwriter Oren Moverman's name representing someone who needs to be on the radar for his future projects...if he keeps telling simple and powerful stories like this people will pay attention.
Related post: The Messenger & Contemporary War Films (Nov 26, 2009)