Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Messenger Messages

Tiny distributor Oscillope earned our goodwill less than a year ago by coaxing some theatrical life out of the largely unmarketable but worthy and delicate gem Wendy & Lucy. My how that film lingers. They've just released the poster for their latest release The Messenger. It's the directorial debut of Oren Moverman who previously crafted screenplays for must-see arthouse titles like Jesus Son and I'm Not There.

What message are you getting from The Messenger's poster? I think it's striking. The backwards flag in the title -- nice design element there -- leads me to believe this isn't a happy or blindly patriotic war movie. Yep, it's about an Iraq war vet (Ben Foster) assigned to the Casualty Notification service. I don't like to know any more about plots than that before I see a movie. I hope this doesn't sound callous but I hope Samantha Morton suffers like Job. (Great actors crying is the best!) The movie begins platforming in early November... supposedly with an awards run in mind.

What do you think of the quartet of actors?

If you ask me it breaks down like this: Samantha Morton can do no wrong, Ben Foster can do plenty of wrong but he can't do it without being highly watchable and that's meant as a compliment. The other two provoke less intense reactions from me. Jena Malone used to be more famous than her less talented doppelganger Kristen Stewart but the movies giveth and the movies taketh away, don't they? At least she got to make out with Jake Gyllenhaal when it looked like she was going places. As for Woody Harrelson... who let him out again. Doesn't it seem like he's in everything all of a sudden? Does he have a new agent or have we teleported back to the mid 90s?


Dain Binder said...

This does look interesting, and after seeing and liking Wendy and Lucy I will certainly check this one out.

Andrew K. said...

Yeah Samantha can do wrong...even if she robs Scarlett of an Oscar nomination I still can't hate her [stole the show in Minority Report]. Jena Malone I really hope she gets back on track, scratch that starts a new track because she was never that big to begin with. Harrelson and Foster... I'll pass

Rob said...

Saw this a few months back. It's good, with spots of greatness. The greatness mostly comes in extended sequences where Woody & Ben break the news to the loved ones (usually cameos by notable names and/or recognizable faces). These scenes are heartwrenching, suspenseful, and utterly compelling.

The relationship stuff between the two leads is okay-pretty good, and Samantha Morton's recurring subplot actually almost kills the movie. Anyway, not sure about awards prospects, but Foster is good, and Harrelson's quiet, intense turn will probably impress purely based on how diametrically opposed it is to his recent roles/persona. He's probably the awards prospect if there is one (probably supporting actor).

jess said...

I'm not sure about that Jena Malone-Kirsten Stewart comment, Nat. At least admit it's not that easy to see that one is more talented than the other.

Davey said...

Who let Woody out of his cage? LOL. It's not like he's some animal they let out for feeding. He can be quite awesome when he's in his element. I would have been fine with him winning the Oscar for the Larry Flynt film. This is my first time ever hearing about "The Messenger." Reminds me a little bit of "Taking Chance." Hope this one is as good as that film was. I think it'll inevitably be overshadowed by the war film of the year though, "The Hurt Locker."