Israeli director Oren Moverman, in his directorial debut, elicits powerful, affecting performances from the stars of The Messenger, a film about soldiers assigned to the U.S. Army’s Casualty Notification service. Ben Foster plays Will Montgomery, an army officer back from a tour in Iraq, who is assigned to work with fellow officer Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson) to bring the worst possible news to the loved ones of fallen soldiers.Â The story turns when Stone becomes involved with the wife of a soldier who has died (Samantha Morton).
San Francisco-based film critic Michael Fox recently talked with Moverman, who is the first soldier, albeit a former member of the Israel Defense Forces, to direct a film about the Iraq War. The movie was shot at Fort Dix, and Moverman, who lived in the U.S. during his teen years, told Fox:Â “I got a lot of respect for being an Israeli soldier. Much more than I deserved. There’s definitely a feeling of camaraderie and a feeling of ‘You’re an ally, and your experiences are real.’ I didn’t expect that, but I only benefited from it.”
(Fox’s story will appear in the Nov. 27 edition of the American Jewish World.)
Here is a trailer for the film, which opensÂ Friday, Aug. 20 at the Edina Cinema, France Avenue South and 50th Street:
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