The Messenger

Will is in the US Army. He has just returned from active service in Iraq, where he has been laid up in army hospitals for long periods of time, waiting for the wounds to heal that he sustained during action. But the scars that mark him are not just physical: back home in the US he discovers that life has by no means stood still for his girlfriend and this knowledge wounds him emotionally too. Will has another three months of service. A transfer to the “casual­ty notification office” provides him with his first opportunity for a fresh start. But behind the innocuous-sounding name lies a department that has the unenviable task of informing relatives of the deaths of their loved ones killed in action.
Having escaped death by a hair’s breadth himself, Will now finds himself responsible for delivering these dreadful messages about soldiers who have died in combat. He is assisted by Tony, an older, more experienced officer. The sad content of their work brings the two men closer together. A kind of soldierly bond develops between them which they hope will help them to return to a ‘normal’ life – although they both know that for them, there can no longer be such a thing. Or is there a chance after all? Will’s work one day brings him into contact with a young widow. But falling in love with the wife of a dead comrade puts him in a moral dilemma …
by Oren Moverman
with Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton, Jena Malone, Steve Buscemi, Eamonn Walker
USA 2008 105’

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