The Messenger

“I was successful in my “”double feature”” today which consisted of The Messenger at the Kendall and The Road at the common. I realized later that it was prolly poor planning to choose such uplifting (said with sarcasm) movies to watch back to back. But hey what ya gonna do? I’d been dying to see The Messenger, and it seemed like a good chance to also catch The Road which likewise was not playing at my beloved Fenway theater.

Dying to see The Messenger, you (er, I) say? Yes. Um why? I love Ben Foster. I watched him way back in the day when he got his start on the Disney Channel’s Flash Foward, opposite Firefly’s Jewel Staite (although at the time, I knew her as Space Cases’ Jewle Staite). But in the past few years, he’s really been making a name for himself as a serious actor (with the occassional fun stuff, like playing Archangel in X-Men 3). He generated some major buzz for a long shot supporting Oscar nod for 3:10 to Yuma (and I would have _so_ totally been in favor of that). And now he’s generating some long shot lead actor buzz for this movie.

Do I think he’s got what it takes? I def support the long shot buzz. And I would be happy to see him on the list, but its unlikely. For those of you not in the know, The Messenger is about a solider who just got back from Iraq and is supposed to finish off his last few months in the army by informing next of kin when someone dies in battle. Pretty intense stuff. He played the part of conflicted solider beautifully, especially in the penultimate scene of the movie. While I dont think we’re likely to see him as an Oscar nominee this year, if he keeps up this type of work, it wont be long until we do. And Im really excited for that day, to see sweet little Tucker James all growed up.

Playing opposite Foster was Woody Harrelson, another favorite of mine. While he’s best known and loved for his kooky roles (most recently, Zombieland or 2012), the man is one damn fine actor. Personally, I think his best work was when he combined both of those sides of him for the title role in The People Vs. Larry Flynt. Hey, it worked out so well for him he scores his only Oscar nod to date. Here, he was great as Foster’s mentor who seems to have it all together, but is really just as messed up as everyone else below the surface.

Surprise appearance by Steve Buscemi who was so good in his small role. Im always happy to see him, but this was one of his best acting wise. Wasn’t too sold on the girls in the movie, although I think it was mostly because I didnt really like their storylines. The movie actually loses a little bit on the rating scale because of how much I didnt care for the storyline involving Samantha Morton. Nothing wrong with her, but the idea of a solider going after (yes, that kinda going after) a woman he just informed is now a widow seemed so wrong to me, to the point where I was almost even repulsed by it. I kinda shut down during the point when that storyline was the most prevalent, and it took a while to get me back in. Wasn’t too interested in Jenna Malone’s storyline either, but Ive always had mixed feelings about her. While she gets mad points for being in both Donnie Darko and Saved, there’s always something a bit off. And most of the stuff with her was just awkward.

Ultimately, this was such a gripping movie. With the previously mentioned exceptions, I was absolutely drawn in and captivated. When the movie ended, it sounded like everyone had been holding their breath thru the whole thing. I heard a “”wow.”” behind me and other similar remarks. Although, I hafta say the last scene was kind anticlimactic. The penultimate scene, on the other hand, was just such a brilliant finish on an already brilliant movie.

The Messenger – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n