Review: The Messenger

This disquieting tale about two Army officers assigned to notification duty - informing loved ones of soldiers killed in action - doesn't deliver the adrenaline fix of The Hurt Locker, but it's just as taut. In The Messenger, First-time director Oren Moverman excavates what he calls the emotional landscape of a combat soldier, with long, intimate takes that pull the audience into a series of unsettling confrontations. Foster's relentless intensity is countered nicely by Harrelson's slyly askew, Oscar-nominated portrayal, and Samantha Morton is an angel of grace as a military widow whose dignity captures Foster's heart. The EXTRAS accent the cast and crew's esprit de corps, especially in a lively commentary with Moverman, Harrelson, and Foster that reveals the happy accident that made Home on the Range their theme song. B+

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