Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Don't Kill 

Wednesday, Nov 25 2009
I'm Not There screenwriter Oren Moverman makes his directorial debut with The Messenger, a moving and nuanced drama about the home-front readjustment period for decorated Iraq War hero Will Montgomery (Ben Foster) who, after surviving a roadside blast, has been reassigned as a Casualty Notification Officer. He is partnered with self-proclaimed lunatic Captain Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson), a dogged Army lifer and semi-recovering alcoholic whose only support system is military etiquette. Together, they deliver the worst news to fallen soldiers' next of kin, and for Will, the volatile (and largely improvised) reactions from those left behind pick at his own emotional scabs. Some might duck and cover at a premise so grim, but Moverman and co-writer Alessandro Camon's top-notch script is loaded with authentic compassion and charm—even unlikely sucker punches of humor. Foster appropriately underplays, while Harrelson, never over the top, nails his showier role. The film is obviously about coping with grief -- or not knowing how to -- as illustrated in a slightly overcooked subplot about a newly widowed woman (Samantha Morton) Will tries to woo. But what really resonates is the complex tale of camaraderie between two men whose only hope of avoiding self-destruction is to let down their guard—which is, of course, against protocol.
Dec. 4-10, 2009

About The Author

Aaron Hillis


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"