The Worst News of All
The war in Iraq may be largely over, but as this powerful new drama shows, the conflict remains an open wound. The Messenger follows two soldiers, a young Iraqi war hero (Ben Foster) and a brazen, alcoholic Desert Storm veteran (Woody Harrelson, in a stunning career-best performance). Together, they work for the Casualty Notification Office, delivering the tragic news of fallen soldiers to their next of kin. The gut-wrenching notification scenes are dispersed throughout the story, each one exploding the film open with wails of pain and fury. But ultimately, The Messenger operates like a sensitive, finely etched buddy movie, delicately observing these two very different men as they form a deep bond. Finally, here is a film that, without patriotic clichés, honors the service of today’s soldiers while showing how it rips them apart.