— by ROB COX —
“The Messenger” is an upcoming film about the U.S. Army division that notifies immediate family when a loved one dies in the service.
Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster star as two Army officers assigned to deliver the bad news. Foster is Will Montgomery, a soldier fresh from a combat tour still grappling with war-time memories, and Harrelson is the grizzled veteran who is training Montgomery on his new assignment and teaching him the rules — the most important of which is to never get emotionally involved.
Based solely on this brief clip, the film is difficult to gauge. It certainly represents a change of pace for both its leads, though; there’s neither a zombie nor a space monster in sight.
This trailer is all drama and grief and conflict of interest — except for the languid Willie Nelson hymn, this feels like a cross between last year’s “Stop Loss” and last month’s “Love Happens” — neither of which was terribly compelling.
Factor in the lethargic feel and an uninspired title that recalls a certain horror film (admittedly, a title incorporating “Army Casualty Notification Service” seems impractical), and it’s anybody’s guess how entertaining this might be.
Apparently, the film’s been honored by a bunch of film festivals, though, and I’m always game for either Harrelson or Foster, so we’ll see.
The Messenger arrive in theaters Nov. 13, 2009.
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