The Messenger: Woody Harrelson Ben Foster

This is it, with The Messenger in theaters, the time for possible Oscar films has begun! First time director and co-writer Oren Moverman shows us how to make a movie with his debut film, which is as subtle and beautiful as it is poignant and dramatic. From an amazing script, to beautiful performances he has unknowingly made himself Oscar-bait.

Check out our interview below…

The Players

The Plot

“You always shoot the messenger.” When someone dies fighting in combat today they no longer send a message but a messenger to deliver the news. In the film one solider (Foster), who was recently been pulled from battle, is paired up with seasoned officer (Harrelson) to do possibly the hardest job in the army, inform people that their loved have been killed. The young solider gets in trouble when he becomes involved with a widow of a fallen officer (Morton).

The Good

  • The Script: One of the best scripts I’ve seen all year. Every moment has a reason, each scene pushes another plot point in the story, and they never rely on cliches to get where they’re going. Every moment feels organic and makes for a series of dramatic and yet nuanced performances
  • Simple Shots: As the director told us in our interview with him, often it would just be him and a cameraman in the room recording the performance. As a result, nothing felt staged, it felt like you were a part of the drama taking place. His choice to have all the message delivery scenes done in one shot again make you feel like what you’re watching is honest and real, and adds to the emotions of the scene.
  • Ben Foster: Finally he gets the chance to lead a great film. His portrayal of his characters is the perfect mix of intensity and yet vulnerability. You understand where he’s been and the pain of trying to adapt to his new laugh without him ever trying to show it.
  • Whole Cast: Woody Harrelson gave a serious and heartfelt performance that we’ve never truly seen from him before. He was even quoted saying that this first film where he truly cried on camera. Samantha Morton was gracious and beautiful, gave the story heart with what looked like no effort at all.
  • The Music: Completely understated, as it needed to be to match the performances and the style of filmmaking.
  • Directing: Honestly, everything that I’ve mentioned comes down to good directing. There are a million things that can go wrong with a movie, but this is one of the few times when everything went right.

The Bad:

  • I got nothing.


From start to finish this is a great film and I can only hope it receives the recognition it deserves come Oscar time. I highly recommend it for the holiday season, it has enough humor to keep you from feeling like it’s a “downer” and leaves you appreciating what you have in front of you.

Rating: 9.7/10

Photo Gallery

The Messenger will be released in a limited amount of theaters on November 13

Watch the trailer below…