10 War Films Where Everyone Survives

8. The Messenger

The Messenger
Oscilloscope Laboratories

The Messenger is a movie all about death, a work of art devoted to fallen soldiers and those left to pick up the pieces of their passing. It never shows anyone dying, planting us in the shoes of the families told that their loved one is never coming back. There is no closure found in death, just sadness, seemingly colourless American flags draped over empty coffins, and the sorrow of delivering the news that will ruin lives forever.

Ben Foster portrays a soldier recently returned from the Middle East with post traumatic stress disorder. Instead of pivoting completely out of the military and into civilian life, he talks upon a position of the messenger, the US army officials who tell families that their loved one has been killed in action.

He makes fractured bonds with his co-worker, played by Woody Harrelson, who suffers from alcoholism due to his trauma, and a widow played by Samantha Morton.

Writer and director Oren Moverman understands the weight of every single life on this planet, the rippling effects that anyone’s death causes on those who loved them. There is no need to depict the violence on screen to achieve that effect.


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