The knock at the door that foretells the news of a loved one’s death in combat has long been a movie staple. As its title suggests, The Messenger focuses on the other side of the threshold – on the men in uniform whose job is to inform families of their loss. Assigned this thankless task for his last three months of service, Ben Foster’s decorated Iraq war soldier learns the ropes from army veteran Woody Harrelson. As they encounter shock, rage and grief on a succession of doorsteps, they’re supposed to keep emotional distance from the next of kin, but Foster can’t help getting involved with war widow Samantha Morton. Directed and co-written by Oren Moverman (himself a combat veteran of the Israeli Defence Force), this is an intelligent, superbly acted and moving drama that manages to say more about war and its consequences than most films set on the front line.
On general release from 17th June.