In “The Messenger”, Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery (played by Ben Foster) is recently returned (due to injury) from a tour of duty in Iraq. He is posted with a unit that delivers the most unwelcome of news to families of serving men and women. He is teamed-up with higher ranked officer Tony Stone (by Woody Harrelson). They are different types of men – Stone has never seen action, he is a “strictly by the book” operator who is cold and direct in the delivery of his messages. Will is a decorated hero, who prefers a more sensitive approach to his task.
Each man is superbly portrayed – Woody Harrelson is excellent as Tony Stone – a lonely, recovering alcoholic and Ben Foster brings a totally believable Will Montgomery to the story – he is trying to deal with his “hero” status and a broken heart after his girlfriend breaks up with him shortly after his return.
The movie is primarily about the relationship between the two men. We see several examples of message delivery – each is traumatic, difficult and very emotional. During one message delivery, Will meets Olivia Patterson (by Samantha Morton) and there is a parallel story of how Will gradually forms a bond with Olivia.
This is a good movie – an emotional roller coaster that is very well crafted and nicely delivered.