The Messenger. 2009. USA. Directed by Oren Moverman. Screenplay by Moverman, Alessandro Camon. With Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster, Steve Buscemi, Jena Malone. 35mm. 113 min.
Laura Rosenthal had worked with the screenwriter Oren Moverman on Todd Haynes’s I’m Not There and Alison Maclean’s Jesus’ Son when he asked her to cast his directing debut, a stoically heartbreaking drama about a soldier who gets mixed up with a war widow. There isn’t a single false note to the performances: a restrained Woody Harrelson, who delivers tragic news to the mothers and wives of those fallen in combat; a wounded Ben Foster, who finds in Samantha Morton an unspoken solace; and Steve Buscemi as a grieving father and Jenna Malone as an estranged girlfriend, both superb.