Opening 3 Jun 2010
Filmmaker Oren Moverman collaborates with producer, screenwriter and friend Alessandro Camon to bring The Messenger to the front door of each film viewer. Their intent is to shed light on the awesome duty and responsibility that the military service personnel undertake when they are selected to be a Casualty Notification Officer (CNO) or a Casualty Assistance Calls Officer (CACO). It is one of the most difficult jobs in any branch of the service. The notification is delivered in person by two officers, and it is the first official notification, representing the Secretary of the Military (namely the specific branch) the family receives after their loved one has fallen or is determined missing.
The intense and often irreverent style of storytelling in The Messenger illuminates the rawness of man and charts a partnership between two unlikely soldiers, Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery (Ben Foster) and Captain Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson), forced to be the Army’s bearer of bad news on the home front. The complexity of their union is challenged day in and day out; but, they grow accustomed to tolerating each other’s idiosyncrasies, leading toward a solid friendship. Captain Tony tries to reel the young buck in to the “rules” of the trade, but Staff Sergeant Will is bothered by his moral inconsistencies, lack of compassion and empathy. Will does not want to follow in the footsteps of his captain who lives an unhappy life. His example is not uplifting! Their friendship is put to the test when Captain Tony confronts Will with a moral dilemma after one of the NCO visits. Will finds himself attracted to a fallen soldier’s widow, Olivia Pitterson (Samantha Morton), going against the rule to never get involved with a casualty next of kin. (Karen Pecota)